Common Cold in Babies: Management and Treatment

Common Cold in Babies: Management and Treatment


How your baby looks and behaves can be telling: If she has a runny nose, cough, and possibly a low-grade fever, but plays and eats as she usually does, it's probably a cold.


why babies are extra vulnerable to the common cold

There's a reason colds are called "common": Many healthy children have eight to 10 colds and other viral infections in the first two years of life (or six to eight colds in the first year), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). That's because their developing immune systems aren’t good at staving off infections yet — not because you didn’t dress her warmly enough or left the window open a crack overnight. And sometimes those colds will overlap as your baby catches one just as another is ending.

If you’re a new parent, the constant flow of symptoms (literally!) can be distressing and exhausting, so check in with your pediatrician if you’re worried about your little one, especially if she is under 3 months old. Here’s what you need to know about the common cold in babies, from causes to symptoms, duration and treatments.


Baby Common Cold Symptoms

Symptoms of a cold in an infant generally start with a low grade fever and nasal congestion. Infants get all plugged up inside and then two to three days later generally start having a lot of post-nasal drip, increasing a cough and causing a runny nose. If your child has a green or yellow runny nose in the first three to four days of a cold, that’s normal and not considered a sinus infection — it’s just that the mucus has been setting in the nose for so long. That generally

This is not just a common cold

While many of the above symptoms are common for multiple disorders, newborns with flu, croup, or pneumonia will often show other symptoms.



A newborn with flu may have cold symptoms, but these are often alongside other signs that may include vomiting, diarrhea, or higher fever.


The baby may also be especially fussy due to other symptoms they are too young to cannot express. A baby with the flu will often seem sicker than with a cold, but not always.



Babies with croup will have the typical symptoms of a cold, but these symptoms may quickly get worse.


Babies may have a harsh, barking cough. They may have difficulty breathing, which could cause them to make straining, squeaking noises, or to sounding hoarse when they cough.


Whooping cough

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, begins as a cold, but symptoms can shift after a week or so. The baby may develop a severe hacking cough that makes it hard for them to breathe.


The cough may make the baby take deep breaths immediately after coughing. These breaths make a whooping noise.


The classic “whoop,” however, is more common in older children and adults and does not often happen in babies.


An infant with pertussis often vomits after coughing or, more seriously, may briefly turn blue or stop breathing.


Whooping cough is serious and requires immediate medical care.



Babies may be more at risk than older people of a cold turning into pneumonia. This can happen quickly, which is why it is important to notify a pediatrician for a proper diagnosis.


Babies with pneumonia may also have difficulty breathing. They could breathe more rapidly than normal, or their breathing could sound difficult.


In some cases, their lips or fingers may look blueish, which is a sign they are not getting enough oxygen and need emergency medical attention.



Colds don't need to be treated. They usually go away on their own after a few days. Antibiotics won't work because they kill bacteria, and in this case, viruses are to blame.

You’ll naturally want to calm your baby's symptoms. But don't give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to infants and toddlers. These products don't work well in kids under 6 years, and they can cause dangerous side effects in young children. The FDA advises against using them at all in children younger than 4.

To bring down a fever and make your child more comfortable, you can use acetaminophen (Children's Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Children's Motrin or Advil) if she's over 6 months old. Read the package to make sure you give the right dose for her weight and age.

During a cold, your baby or infant may need to see a physician or health care professional if their symptoms are prolonged. If they extend past seven to 10 days, you may want to call or bring your child in. If there are symptoms such as irritability, prolonged fever or respiratory difficulty, make sure to see a physician or health care professional.


Is there anything parents can do to prevent a cold?

Avoid close contact with your child. More specifically, no sharing cups, spoons or straws. Your child should also have their own towel when they have a cold. You should avoid close kissing as well. You can maybe kiss them on the forehead, but not too close.

  In addition, it is necessary to choose some sterilized bedding, which can protect infants from the virus.Antibacterial sheets, for example, are a good choice.

If your child has a fever as well as a cold, you can click here for another of our articles.It may help you.

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