When it comes to being a new parent, a lot of firsts for your baby can be exciting, however, some firsts can also be worrisome. Your child’s first cold is no different as it can be a truly upsetting event for you and your baby, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect. Use these tips to lower your stress and handle the situation with ease.
When Do Most Children Get Their First Cold?
In the first few months of your baby’s life, they will most likely avoid getting any colds. Newborns tend to already have a slightly higher immunity from their mother. The immunity of the newborn will subside after about three months, then it will start to produce antibodies itself. However, this natural immunity can be overcome by a particularly infectious strain of the cold, and a newborn’s immunity will most likely wear off after several month, then the child begins to produce antibodies themselves. Thus, most babies get their very first bout of the cold between six to 12 months. When your baby gets his/her first cold, you can typically expect them to be fussy and unhappy.
Symptoms of a Cold in Infants
As your baby’s body fights off the infection, they may exhibit some of these common symptoms:
- Runny, watery, or thick nasal discharge that is clear, yellow, or green
- A slight fever of less than 103 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sneezing and coughing
- Difficulty eating or not having an appetite
- Being unusually irritable and fussy
- Red and watery eyes
- Difficulty sleeping
How to Manage Your Child’s Cold
Unfortunately, colds are viral infections, so basic antibiotic medications typically will not work, because they fight only bacteria and no viruses. Though there is nothing you can do to immediately cure your baby’s cold, you can take some steps to manage their symptoms.
Make sure your baby gets plenty of fluids. Some infants may struggle to nurse, so you may need to have more frequent feedings. Infants who are old enough can benefit from baby paracetamol or ibuprofen in the recommended dosage. This will help your child to feel better while they overcome their cold. Be sure to provide a lot of affection and cuddling because your baby will most likely be confused and upset by the symptoms of their cold. Most of the time, babies with colds do not need to visit the doctor, however, cold treatment should involve a doctor’s visit if your baby is under 3 months old. If your child is older, you should be aware of the symptoms and if in doubt, consult a doctor if you are not sure.
Tips for Preventing Any Complications
A basic cold normally is not an issue, but it does have the possibility of turning into something much worse, and infants have a particularly high chance of getting pneumonia after dealing with a cold. You may be able to reduce the chances of a cold worsening into pneumonia by providing plenty of nutrition, hydration and sleep. If your baby appears to have a cold, do not give them aspirin unless instructed to do so by a doctor, as this can, in some cases, cause Reye’s syndrome and other complications.
When to Visit a Doctor
Though it is normal for infants to get colds, it is also possible that your child could have some other sort of illness. Pay attention to the sound of your child’s cough because a barking cough can be a symptom of croup while a whooping cough can be a symptom of pertussis.
Infants who have vomiting, diarrhea, or a higher fever most likely have the flu, not a cold. If you think your child may have any of these illnesses, be sure to call their doctor. It is also a good idea to talk to the doctor if your baby’s cold seems to be getting worse rapidly or not going away. Be sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible if your child has a high fever, is unusually pale, is exhibiting unusual drowsiness, or is struggling to breathe. It may be hard to tell if an infant is struggling to breathe, so check if they are flaring their nostrils while breathing, breathing rapidly, or using chest and shoulder muscles to try to ease breathing.