A cold can hit your child hard, and it’s difficult to watch them suffer through blocked noses, coughing fits, and disturbed sleep. While most colds are caused by viruses that the body’s immune system will clear with time, there are things you can do to help keep your baby comfortable along the way.
You’ll need to keep a few supplies handy: saline drops (or spray or gel), a rubber bulb syringe or nasal aspirator, over-the-counter fever reducers (acetaminophen or ibuprofen, depending on your child’s age), a thermometer, and a humidifier.
If your child is under 3 months old, consider calling the office even for more mild symptoms to determine if there is a need for a doctor’s visit. Also keep in mind, a fever (100.4 F or higher) in an infant younger than 2 months old is always taken very seriously: generally speaking, it’s a call to the doctor along with a trip to the emergency room.
For children older than 3 months, call if there is difficulty breathing, concern for dehydration, or true lethargy. Always use your best judgment, and when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call.
To help your baby breathe easier, place a few drops of nasal saline into one nostril, then use a bulb suction or nasal aspirator to clear the nostril right after. Repeat the same process on the other nostril.
Run a humidifier at night. A cool mist humidifier is considered the safer option, as toddlers can potentially burn themselves on the hot steam from a warm mist humidifier.
Make sure to offer plenty of fluids to any child who is sick: breastmilk or formula is perfect for younger infants; Pedialyte or water is a good option for older children. If you are unsure if your infant is ready for Pedialyte or water, give the office a call.
Hand hygiene and other preventative precautions are also important! Be sure to wash hands often and cover coughs and sneezes to help prevent the further spread of germs.
Lastly, over-the-counter cough and cold preparations are not safe for younger children. Avoid these completely until your child is at least 6 years old.
For more information, visit this great page over at healthychildren.org.
Take care and stay well,