Your Baby Has A Cold – Here’s What To Do Next

Cold medicine is not an option

Originally Published: 
How To Deal With Babies And Colds
Flickr / Caitlin Regan

You must own up to the fact that you have birthed your baby into a filthy world. Everywhere you go people are hacking and coughing. The air is full of pollutants and pollen. The current state of politics is … sickening. So you better expect your kid to get ill (but not in the good Beastie Boys kind of way).

Of course the most common illness your baby will deal is the good old-fashioned cold. So be prepared and check out what you need to know when the mucus starts flowing.

Going Viral

Statistically speaking, your kid will probably come down with 7 colds in their first year of life. If they happen to be in daycare that number will just about double. The reason for this is pretty simple: your baby’s brand-new immune system just doesn’t have the juice to take on all comers.

flickr / Liza

Your baby’s body fights viral infections through acquired immunity. So, when they get sick from a virus they will build an immune response to fight it the next time around (usually). But the problem is that there are many many viruses that cause colds. And in some circumstances the body simply cannot build lasting immunity to certain viruses.

And by the way? If your kid gets it? You’re probably not far behind.

Cold Or Something Else?

It’s important to be able to recognize if your kid is suffering from some viral crap that will eventually run its course or a more serious issue that requires immediate medical attention. Keep these in mind:

  • Snot: Will usually start out clear before becoming grey or yellow, if it shows up during Christmas Vacation be aware it might include a little Mississippi leg hound.
  • Cough: It will be present, but if it becomes severe enough to make them vomit, or sticks around for longer than 72 hours, there may be more going on. See your pediatrician.
  • Fever: Might be present. Fever should not normally be a cause for alarm. However, seek immediate attention from the pediatrician for a baby under 3 months with a fever above 100.4 degrees. Unless they are 80s rock group Foreigner, in which case they are Hot Blooded and can stand a fever of 103.

flickr / Caitlin Regan

Ride Into The danger Zone

Kids 3 months and under who come down with a cold will need to see a pediatrician sooner than later. It could develop into something much worse, including pneumonia. Here are a couple more reasons to contact your doctor right away:

  • Fever subsides, but kid continues to look and act sick
  • Kid refuses to nurse or eat from a bottle
  • A series of dry diapers
  • Difficulty breathing or a bluish cast
  • Any blood in coughed up mucus

Sweet Cold Relief

There are no over the counter cold medications for children under 2. And as tempting as the ‘tussin is, it can do serious damage to your kid. So your treatment options are going to all be about clearing passages and keeping comfortable.

flickr / moppet65535

Treating The Fever

If your kid is over 4 months, your pediatrician may suggest children’s acetaminophen. Make sure you get a doc’s blessing before heading down that road and follow directions carefully.

Moisten The Atmosphere

Cold viruses do best when the nasal passages are dry. Get ‘em lubed up with a humidifier. It’ll help out with coughs too. It’ll also skeeve out people who don’t like the word “moist.” This is your excuse you say it as often as possible.

Nose Knows

A couple drops of saline solution in the nose can help dry up mucus and reduce swelling. Just make sure you know how to apply it. If you’re not into that, go the way of the snot sucker. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, it works like a damned charm and — like so many things involving your kid and fluids — you’ll get used to it and soon be singing the praises of snot sucking to your new parent friends. Seriously.

In the end, the fact is that this is going to happen a lot over your lifetime. But you can keep the illness at bay by keeping up the hand-washing, eating well, exercising and staying the hell away from politics. So dirty.

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