Wondering about your baby's cold? Did you know that babies may have as many as six colds before they reach age one? That's a cold every other month! Why do babies get colds so frequently? What can you do to help your child feel better? How can you reduce your baby's risk of colds? Keep reading for the answers to these questions!
Why Does Your Baby Get Colds?
Ok, you do everything right. You keep your baby inside during the cold weather. You try to steer clear of sick people. You wash her hands frequently, as well as your own, and still, your baby continues to catch colds!
While your child's immune system continues to build-up and become stronger as she grows and develops, it is virtually impossible for her to acquire immunities to every strand of cold out there. She catches colds more frequently than an adult because her immune system is still immature. Even if you are vigilant about washing her hands, think how often she touches objects and then places her hands into her mouth. Wow! That's a lot of germs that she is exposed to on a daily basis!
Is It a Cold or an Allergy?
Allergies do have some distinct characteristics that make them easier to discern from colds. While some children run a fever with colds, allergies typically aren't accompanied by an elevated body temperature. Your child's nasty cold may produce thick, yellow or green mucus, but mucus caused by an allergy typically remains clear. If it is wintertime, your child is more than likely suffering from a cold, instead of an allergy. Allergy season is usually spring, summer, or fall.
What About the Flu?
How can you tell if what you thought was a cold really is the flu? The flu is typically accompanied by fever, aches, chills, along with respiratory symptoms. According to the March of Dimes, you should call your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Any fever in your baby's first three months.
- A fever of 101 degrees or greater if your child is between four and six months of age.
- A fever of 103 degrees or greater if your child is over six months of age.
- Has trouble breathing or appears to be in pain.
- Has a lingering cough that seems to be getting worse.
Treating Your Baby's Cold
Unfortunately, there isn't a magical cure that will rid your child of his cold. In most cases, you just have to ride it out. You can help him feel more comfortable until the cold disappears, however.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the room.
- Take your baby into a steamy bathroom with you, and let the steam work to open her air passages.
- Use a bulb syringe to suction out excess mucus.
- Gently squirt saline solution into your baby's nose to loosen the mucus. She won't like this one bit, but I promise, it will help!
- Ask your pediatrician before giving your little one any cold medications.
Obviously, you can't completely prevent your baby's colds. There are some precautions you can take, however, to lessen their occurrances somewhat.
- Give your baby plenty of liquids, especially during the winter months when colds are more prevalent.
- Be sure you and other family, friends, and caretakers who handle your baby wash their hands...a lot!
- Keep your child away from sick people when possible.
- Don't expose your baby to tobacco smoke for any reason.
Finally, when your baby does get a cold, give her lots of TLC. In no time at all, she'll be her giggling, happy self again!