Common cold can be a nightmare for both for you & your baby. Know all about the causes and symptoms of cold in babies/infants.
Cold in Babies
As parents, you can spend a long time distressing over your child’s health and trying to figure out the exact reason behind that runny nose or incessant coughing! Well, what you need to understand that babies being as delicate as they are, they are vulnerable victims to potent viruses. So it is normal for them to get frequent colds often. All you need to do is stop fretting and educating yourself more on the disease and ways of warding it off. A common cold is usually triggered by a viral infection that hits the upper respiratory tract of your baby i.e., his nose and throat. Babies run a risk of catching cold because they are often surrounded by elders who don’t always follow the basic hygiene of washing their hands. Also the chances of getting a cold increases during monsoons or cold weathers. It is normal for your baby to get eight to ten colds in the first two years of his/ her life. Since common cold is quite common for babies, it is likely that one infection may linger on for several weeks. Also a cold can be an indication of some other infection too. Read on to know more on common cold.
Common cold is nothing but viral infections caused by rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, enterovirus and coxsackievirus. Once a baby has been infected with a certain kind of virus, it usually develops immunity against it. However there are hundreds of other harmful viruses and your baby still runs the risk of catching cold every now and then. Some of the common causes of cold are listed below:
- Your baby can transmit cold by direct exposure with someone who is already infected.
- The virus can also spread if a sick person touches his mouth or nose and then touches your baby without washing his hands.
- Your baby may also catch cold by coming in contact with contaminated surfaces like toys, utensils, clothes, etc.
- Allergy and passive smoking can also speed up the intensity in which your child gets affected.
- Cold weather can instigate cold related problems. The air is usually dry during fall and winter and spending time outdoors can make your baby susceptible to cold.
Most colds are nothing less than an unnecessary trouble. However it is important to note the signs of your baby when he/ she develop cold. Here are some common symptoms to check out for when your baby has cold.
- The first sign of cold is usually a runny nose followed by sneezing and coughing.
- Your baby may get fever due to infection.
- There may be congestion of nose which may in turn lead to breathing problems.
- Will refuse to nurse or show lack of appetite.
- Become cranky, irritable and lethargic.
Frequent cold can lead to quite a few complications in your child. Though these complications are not very common, yet it is important to be careful and be aware of them. Some of the common complications that might show up soon after your baby have suffered a cold are:
- Babies suffering from common cold run a risk of developing ear infections. These infections can strike if the bacteria or virus creep into the space behind your baby’s ear drum.
- Colds can lead to wheezing in your babies even if your child doesn’t have asthma or other respiratory disorder.
- Colds can sometimes lead to sinusitis too. Inflammation and infection of the sinuses are common problems.
- Other serious complications generating out of common cold include pneumonia, bronchiolitis, croup and streptococcal pharyngitis.
A cold can be a miserable experience for your baby and the best way to combat cold is prevention. As they say “Prevention is better than cure”, this saying especially stands true for cold since there is no perfect cure for it. You can avert the chances of your little one catching gold by following the below listed preventive measures:
- You can lower the chance of your baby getting infected by avoiding contact with any other person who is infected with cold. Keep a handkerchief handy to cover your baby’s mouth to avoid all chances of droplet infections.
- Always keep your baby warm and avoid any exposure towards cold.
- If your child shows signs of cold, feed him with plenty of liquids as fluids are known to ease congestion and wash out all toxins from your body. You can also use saline drops to ease a baby’s stuffy nose.
- Always wash your hands before feeding or attending to the needs of your child.
- Keep your baby's toys and pacifiers as much clean as possible.
Sadly there is no known cure for common colds. Even the antibiotics don’t help much when it comes to treating colds. The best way you can help ease your baby’s discomfort is to keep him as warm as possible and consulting a doctor if your baby is below three years of age.
- If your child has fever, you can give him Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to your babies as it can trigger other complications. Also avoid giving any medicines to your little one if he/ she is vomiting or dehydrated.
- It is important to keep your child hydrated when suffering from cold. Keep feeding him with fluids to avoid dehydration. If you are nursing, it is an added advantage since apart from keeping your child hydrated, breast milk is believed to offer extra resistance against cold causing viruses.
- Keep your baby’s nasal passage clear to help him get over any breathing difficulty. You can use nasal aspirator with saline nasal spray to clean the passage and offer relief.