Occasional colds are unavoidable in babies and children. The average baby will contract eight to twelve colds per year! Colds which involve no more than a runny nose and a mild cough and even fever can be handled at home. If your baby has other worrisome symptoms, however, we’d like for you to call us.
What causes a cold or flu?
There are several different types of viruses which cause the common cold or flu.
What is a viral infection?
A virus is different from a bacteria and cannot be killed by antibiotics. A virus cannot reproduce by itself. It makes you sick by taking over some of your cells in your body in order to multiply. When it takes over cells in your nose, this leads to a runny nose.
What are the symptoms of a cold or flu?
Common symptoms include weakness, cough, headache, fever, muscle ache, and/or runny nose.
What is the treatment?
If your child does get the cold or flu, antibiotics will not help. The best cure for the cold or flu is time. We can treat symptoms as needed with:
- nasal saline washes and bulb suction
- cool mist vaporizers
- elevation of the head of the bed at night
Usually, your child will start to feel better within one week, although some symptoms can last four to six weeks. Symptoms get worse before they get better with day three and four of the cold being the worst days.
What medications can my baby take?
No medication will eliminate your child’s disease. Again, only time will cure your child. No studies have ever shown cold medicines to be helpful for children, and plenty have now shown these medications to cause harmful side effects, especially in children younger than 4 years old. People are always disappointed with the ineffectiveness of cold medicines and often switch from one brand to another. That is why there are aisles and aisles of them in the store. Additionally, coughing is a natural defense mechanism of your body which helps to keep your airways open and prevents the pooling of mucus in your lungs. For these reasons, we discourage the use of cough medicines during a cold. The best treatment measures for symptoms are listed above.