Sick baby care
For example, you can touch another person's hands who has a cold and then touch your own nose or eyes. If a cold virus is on the person's hands, you may then get a cold.
Unfortunately, colds are a part of life. The symptoms last about a week and are all too familiar: runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough and slight fever.
These symptoms can be more uncomfortable for a baby than for an older child or adult. A baby can't blow her nose. She also has a hard time breathing through her mouth. A stuffy nose can make it difficult for a baby to suck, interfering with feeding.
Call your baby's health care provider if your baby is less than 3 months old and:
- Develops any fever (more than 100.4° F) or cold symptoms. The provider will probably want to examine her to make sure she is not developing a more serious illness.
- Refuses several feedings.
- Is more irritable than usual or especially sleepy.
Also call if your older baby or child:
- Develops a fever above 102° F
- Has a cough that worsens or doesn't get better after a week. Do not give over-the-counter cough and cold products to infants and children younger than 4 years of age. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these medications can have serious and life-threatening side effects.
- Has a stuffy nose that doesn't go away after 10-14 days
- Has a sore throat that gets worse
- Has difficulty breathing
- Develops ear or face pain
Although there's no cure for the common cold, you can make your baby more comfortable. If your baby is having trouble sucking, try using a rubber suction bulb to help clear her nose before each feeding. Your provider may recommend nasal saline (salt water) drops to ease stuffiness. Putting a cool-mist humidifier in her room may also help her breathe more easily.
You can try to protect your baby from colds by keeping her away from people who are sneezing or coughing. This is especially important when your baby is less than 3 months old.
July 2006 (R 1/08)