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Tackling Colds With Infants and Toddlers

by Tania Cowling | June 1st, 2015 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

siblings (400x400)No matter the season, your little one will have a least one cold during her first year. And if your child has siblings or is in daycare that number will probably climb. Some feel that colds are more prevalent in the winter because of the cold weather and being indoors, but children also get spring and summer colds as well. The risk of catching a cold virus happens when children (and adults too) are in close proximity with others who have the virus. And with babies, the fact that they mouth everything they hold is a problem. Picture children playing with toys in an indoor facility where all kinds of germs lurk on objects – one mouthing and the germ is spread.

Now, just because your baby sneezes doesn’t necessarily mean he has a cold. Secretions normally begin to accumulate in the nasal passages early in life and when these passages become clogged, babies clear them by coughing and sneezing. And then there are allergies too. As long as your baby feeds, sleeps, and acts normally, then you can assume that his stuffiness is okay. But, on the other hand, if your child becomes uncomfortable and has trouble feeding (sucking), this may be the first sign of a cold.

Since there is no cure for the common cold, aiding in comfort is important for you and your child. With very young children most doctors will suggest saline nose drops and to use a bulb aspirator to rid the nose of mucus. One device that was truly helpful when my children were young is a cold-mist humidifier in their bedroom. This device shoots out a fine mist of water in the air that helps to make breathing easier. Just make sure you use a cold-mist and not a vaporizer. Both do the same, but the vaporizer boils water to a steam and this machine could be dangerous in a child’s room if they knock it over.

In any case, if you use this small appliance, make sure to clean it often to prevent the accumulation of mold that can cause allergies. I used a solution of white vinegar and water to clean our device. Product information should come with your humidifier.

Most colds run their course and last a few days to a week, but if after these few days your child becomes feverish and really irritable, then it’s time to call the doctor. Another thing to watch for is wheezing. If you hear noises when she breathes or a barking cough, she could be infected with an upper respiratory infection. Doctors are always on the lookout for the RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which can cause pneumonia in babies under the age of one. Always keep your pediatrician informed if a minor cold turns ugly.

After the cold is gone, try to guard your child against another one. Help to build their immunity with good healthy food, rest, and the proper clothing for the weather.

The advice in this article is made by a parent and not a medical professional. Always contact your physician for guidance.

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