As a parent there is one guarantee in life. Your child is going to catch a cold at some stage in their life. For new parents, a babies first cough, cold or runny nose can be a worrying experience. It needn't be. Follow these simple tips and life for you and baby will so much easier.
Most children, particularly when they hit school age, suffer around 10 coughs or colds each year. The effects remain for two to fourteen days depending on what type of cold they have.
Coughs, colds and some runny noses are generally result of a common cold virus. These viruses cannot be treated by anti biotics, in fact there is little that medicine can do to 'cure' a cough, cold or runny nose in a baby.
Classic signs of the common cold in babies
There are several signs that your baby may be coming down with a cough, cold or runny nose. The first is frequent sneezing although this may also be due to allergens. So to the watery red eyes. However, if the nasal congestion thickens then you know it's a cold.
Other symptoms include a low grade fever and eventually coughing. If the cold has settled in the chest first then you may find the cold starts with coughing rather than the runny nose.
Treating a babies cough, cold and runny nose
For babies less than three months, consult your doctor particularly if the temperature is high or there are any breathing difficulties. For older babies, the best you can do is alleviate the symptoms and make life a little more comfortable for them.
Plenty of fluids is rule number one. There is no such thing as too much in the way of fluids. If possible, plain water (boiled and cooled) in between feeds is best.
Avoid any medication for under two year olds including pain or fever relief medication. The mild fever is the bodies way of dealing with the virus. Cough medications can prove fatal for under two year olds so do not self medicate. Seek doctors advice first.
You can moisten the air using a humidifier. If you don't have a humidifier then place baby in the bathroom filled with steam for short periods (be sure the bathroom is mold free first).
For babies with runny noses that are quite thick, you can purchase prepared saline drops. A couple of drops in each nostril may help to flush out any of the mucous. You can also use an eye-dropper to suck out the mucous.
Preventing coughs, colds and runny noses in babies
Prevention is always better than the cure. However, it is almost impossible to prevent babies from catching a cold all the time. Some prevention strategies include keeping baby away from those that do have a cold. Washing your hands before handling a baby, and teaching everyone to sneeze or cough into a tissue rather their hands or the air.
If your feel the symptoms are getting worse or you becomes worried, seek medical advice. Common coughs, colds and runny noses in babies are rarely serious, however medical advice can help alleviate your fears which will help you to control the situation. Staying calm and following these guidelines will make life much easier for everyone.