It can be disheartening to watch a baby suffer from a cold as it causes discomfort, snuffling and even difficulty in feeding. However there are measures that can be taken to ease the baby’s discomfort. Even though it is not a very serious illness, babies are quite vulnerable to colds due to their weak immunity. For instance it is possible for a baby to catch a cold up to eight times in the first year alone.
A cold is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing the cold causing virus into the air. Anyone who inhales such contaminated air is likely to get infected. It can also be spread through contact with an infected person especially if his/her hands are contaminated. It is therefore important to cover the mouth while coughing and wash hands thoroughly after blowing the nose to prevent the spread of the cold to the baby or anyone else.
Once is infected with the cold, breathing becomes difficult as the baby cannot blow his/her nose. It is important to help clear the mucus that is stuffed up in the baby’s nose.
How to Treat Infant Cold
Common colds in infants may last for about 10days after which the baby is bound to get well. However, below are some of the steps that can be taken to ease the discomfort and treat the cold.
1. Ensure the baby gets enough rest.
2. Encourage the intake of more bottle or breast feeds and if the baby is on solids or is formula-fed, give plenty of water to him/her. The water keeps the baby hydrated and keeps the fever down in case the cold is accompanied by fever.
3. Because the baby may be too young to blow his/her nose, wipe the infant’s nose more frequently for easier breathing. Dabbing some petroleum jelly outside the baby’s nostril can also reduce irritation.
4. Infant ibuprofen or paracetamol can help to relieve fever. However, paracetamol should only be administered if the baby is more than two months old, while ibuprofen should be administered if the baby is at least three months old and not weighing below 5kilograms. It is important to get information about the accurate dosage from a medical specialist.
5. In case the baby has trouble feeding due to the stuffy nose, a few drops of the nasal saline can help to unblock the nose. The saline can be acquired from most local pharmacies. Apply the drops to the nostrils 15 minutes before feeding the baby.
6. A vapor rub can also help the baby to breath easily. This should be applied to the baby’s back and chest. It should not be put on the nostrils as it can restrict breathing.
7. Making the baby to breath in steam will help to loosen blocked airways and even get rid of a cough. Get into a steamy bathroom with the baby and stay there for some minutes while ensuring that the infant is held firmly. Keep some distance from the steaming shower to avoid scalding the baby.
The above tips on how to treat infant cold can help to relieve its effects and ensure that the baby is comfortable. However, it is not advisable to give the baby any over-the-counter cold medicines without consulting a specialist due to the risks of over dosage or side effects. The doctor should particularly be consulted if the condition is severe or when one is not sure about the condition or kind of medication to administer.