Monday, January 19, 2009
Remember how miserable you felt when you last had a cold? Can you imagine what your baby must feel when he experiences a cold for the first time? Viruses are responsible for causing colds. Infected people spread the viruses when they sneeze or cough nearby healthy people. The virus gets into the nose and throat where it multiplies.
When your baby has a cold, there will be a number of symptoms. He will be sneezing and have a runny nose. He may have a sore throat and it may be difficult for him to swallow. His glands may become swollen. He may not feel like eating much and he could become irritable. A cough may develop. He may get a slight fever or have a temperature of 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your baby is three months old or less and has cold like symptoms, you should contact a pediatrician immediately. Cold like symptoms in a baby three months old or less are misleading and could sometimes be a serious ailment.
On the other hand, if your child is more than three months old you should contact a doctor if you notice that he is breathing loudly and his nostrils expand out with each breath. His nails or lips are becoming blue. His mucus is thick, runny and green. He has a cough that hasn’t gone a way for more than a week. His ears ache. His temperature is more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit. He has become more drowsy or grouchy.
Medical experts tell us there is no cure for the common cold. However, there are ways to alleviate the miserable symptoms your baby undergoes. Make sure he gets plenty of rest and extra fluids. If he has a fever, give him acetaminophen or if he’s older than six months he may take ibuprofen (but don’t give it to your baby if he is dehydrated or continuously vomiting).
If your child has a cough and is under three years old, don’t give him a cough suppressing medicine unless it was prescribed by a pediatrician. Coughing rids the lower respiratory tract of mucus. If your baby has nasal congestion, you can use a rubber suction bulb to draw out the mucus from his nostrils. If the mucus is too thick, you can apply saline nose drops to soften the mucus before extracting with the bulb. A humidifier can also be used in the baby’s room to help liquefy the nasal secretions.
The best way for your baby to avoid a cold is to not have him near people who are infected. But if your baby gets a cold, the best thing you can do is make it comfortable for him. Soon his cold symptoms will disappear and he’ll be back to health, that is, until the next episode. But by now you should be ready for that.
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