When your baby is born, you want to do everything you can to protect her from discomfort and sickness. But when it comes to colds, all you can do is let nature take its course. Babies generally lose their mother’s immunity to colds by 6 months of age; and the average toddler can get 6-12 colds per year, especially if she is in a daycare setting. What can you do for your little one when a cold comes knocking?
Symptoms include irritability, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, low grade fever (up to 101 F), trouble sleeping, and a decrease in appetite.
Caused by the common cold virus. The virus is concentrated in the nose and is present in large quantities in the nasal fluid of people with colds. Colds are highly contagious; as people blow or wipe their noses, the virus can linger on hands or objects, including the grocery shopping cart or a toy at daycare. The best prevention is frequent hand washing and avoidance of those with colds.
Babies and toddlers get the common cold so much, because their bodies are new to the viruses and they have no immunity built up (there are over 100 cold viruses). Also, they frequently put their hands in their eyes, nose, and mouth. This transmits any cold virus to their nose that could be on their hands.
- For a stuffy nose, get some saline nose drops. Tip your baby’s head back and put a few drops in each of her nostrils to loosen mucus. Then, suction out with a bulb syringe. Most babies hate this, but they will be able to breathe easier. Do not use nasal sprays.
- Get some vapor baby bath and put it in your baby’s bath water. This can loosen congestion.
- Have your baby sleep with a vaporizer or humidifier in her room to ease congestion. Try Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier with Air-Cleaning Filter. The cool mist, rather than hot, means that your baby will not get burned when it is used in his room. Also, the air cleaning filer is a plus!
- Keep your baby hydrated. Although she will probably lose some of her appetite, she should get plenty of fluids. If you are breastfeeding exclusively, breast milk is best. If your baby is a bit older, water and juice are soothing.
- If your baby doesn’t toss or turn, elevate the head side of your baby’s bed with a couple of towels underneath the mattress. This helps the mucus to drain.
- Do not give your baby any OTC medicines if she is under 6 months old. If she is older than six months, you can give her baby cold medicines under a doctor’s direction. As she grows into a toddler, you may find that if you did this every time she had a cold, she’d always be medicated. Toddlers have frequent colds.
- Call your Pediatrician if…
- Your child is younger than three months with a temp above 100.4F
- Your baby has a cold that won’t go away after 5-7 days
- Your baby is tugging on her ear and in pain
- Your baby is wheezing and gasping during a cough
- Your baby’s cough is high pitched and she can’t seem to get her breath
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