common cold and flu – what parents must know

common cold and flu – what parents must know


Viruses, or germs, that infect the nose, throat, and sinuses are what causes the common cold. Babies’ immune systems have not yet developed to withstand all of these infections. The symptoms, remedies, and prevention of the common cold in infants are discussed in this article. 

Table of contents: 

  • What is cold? 
  • How do babies catch a cold? 
  • Why do babies get so many colds? 
  • What are the symptoms of the common cold in a baby? 
  • What are the symptoms of flu? 
  • How do cold symptoms differ from flu symptoms or some other illness? 
  • How are common colds in babies treated? 
  • How can colds in babies be prevented? 

What is cold? 

An infectious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, the common cold is communicable. 

While the majority of adults occasionally suffer a cold, children can experience up to eight colds annually. They are the main cause of sick days and doctor visits among children. 

How do babies catch a cold? 

The rhinoviruses that cause the majority of colds are spread by tiny invisible droplets in the air or on objects we touch. These viruses can penetrate the barrier that lines the nose and throat, triggering an immunological response that might result in a sore throat, a headache, and difficulty breathing through the nose. 

Dry air, whether indoors or outside, can reduce one’s tolerance to cold-causing viruses. The same goes for smoking yourself or among others who do. Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to contract the common cold, and their symptoms are likely to be severe, linger longer, and potentially result in bronchitis or pneumonia. 

Contrary to certain popular beliefs sitting or sleeping in a draught, not dressing for the weather, or going outside with wet hair do not lead to colds. 

Why do babies get so many colds? 

More than a hundred distinct cold viruses exist. Babies’ immune systems have not yet developed to withstand all of these pathogens. A newborn can get as many as 8 to 10 colds a year before becoming 2 years old. Fall and winter are when colds are most prevalent. That’s because kids spend more time indoors and are in close quarters with other kids and babysitters who might be sick. 

What are the symptoms of the common cold in a baby? 

Symptoms of a cold might vary depending on the infection, including: 

  • Stuffy or runny nose 
  • Sneezing 
  • Sore throat and ears 
  • Cough 
  • Headache 
  • Red eyes 
  • Swollen lymph glands  

A fever will develop in some kids. They might feel nauseous or throw up, not feel like eating or act angrier than usual. 

Typically, symptoms persist for a week. 

What are the symptoms of flu? 

An illness known as the flu or influenza is brought on by a virus. It resembles a cold but can have dangerous side effects. 

In addition to the symptoms of a cold, children with influenza may also have muscle aches, shivering, and a sense of heat and cold. 

How do cold symptoms differ from flu symptoms or some other illness? 

Call your doctor if your kid develops any of the following signs. These signs may indicate that the infant has a condition other than a cold, such as: 

  • Fever in a baby that is under 2 months old 
  • Wheezing, rapid breathing, or ribs showing with each breath. Difficulty breathing, especially if the baby’s nostrils enlarge with each breath. 
  • Dehydration may result from not eating or drinking. 
  • An earache 
  • Excessive irritability or drowsiness 
  • Coughing for longer than three weeks 
  • If the infant becomes sicker 

How are common colds in babies treated? 

An older baby’s cold can typically be treated at home. Try some of these ideas to provide the best comfort for your infant: 

Offer plenty of fluids. It’s crucial to drink liquids to stay hydrated. The best option is either breast milk or formula. Encourage your infant to drink the recommended amount of liquids. There is no need for additional fluids. Keep breastfeeding your child if you are. Additional defense against bacteria that cause colds comes from breast milk. 

Suction your baby’s nose. Use a rubber-bulb syringe to maintain the health of your baby’s nasal passages. To release the air, squeeze the bulb syringe. Then, with the bulb’s tip pointed toward the side and rear of the nose, push it into your infant’s nostril from approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch (about 6 to 12 millimeters) away. 

Release the bulb while maintaining its position as it removes the mucus from your infant’s nose. Empty the contents of the syringe onto a tissue by removing it from your child’s nostril and quickly pressing the bulb while maintaining pressure on the tip. For each nostril, repeat as necessary. Wash the bulb syringe in soap and water to clean it. 

Try nasal saline spray. To moisten nasal passageways and break up heavy nasal mucus, your baby’s doctor may advise saline nasal drops. Find these over-the-counter drops from your neighbourhood pharmacy. Saline nasal drops should be used, followed by a brief waiting period, and a suction bulb to remove mucus from each nostril. 

Moisten the air. Nasal congestion can be relieved by running a cool-water humidifier in your baby’s room. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions and change the water every day. 

How can common colds in babies be prevented?

Keeping a baby away from individuals who are sick is the best approach to stop them from getting a cold. Keep the infant at home if at all possible. A newborn can develop a more serious disease from a virus that only causes a mild one in an older child or an adult. 

  • The most effective technique to stop the spread of colds is by washing your hands: 
  • After coughing, sneezing, or wiping their nose, adults who interact with infants and young children should wash their hands. 
  • After interacting with someone who is sick, wash your hands. 
  • An adult should wash both his or her hands and the baby’s hands after wiping the baby’s nose. 
  • Toys that babies put in their mouths should not be shared until they have been thoroughly cleaned. 
  • Use pre-moistened hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the absence of water and soap. (Make sure to keep hand sanitizers out of the reach of kids; they could be dangerous if swallowed.) 

Maintain the baby’s immunization schedule by recommendations. While they won’t stop colds, these can help avoid some of the side effects, like bacterial infections of the lungs or ears. 

The influenza vaccine, sometimes known as the flu shot, is advised for infants every year who are at least 6 months old. Other respiratory viruses are not covered by the vaccine, just against the flu. 


How do you protect your baby if you have a cold? 

Breastfeeding. The best thing you can do to keep your kid from getting a cold during their first year of life is to breastfeed them. Breastfeeding transmits antibodies that defend your body against cold-causing viruses and shield your infant from such infections as well. 

How long does a common cold last in babies? 

If there are no difficulties from your baby’s cold, it should go away in 10 to 14 days. The majority of colds are just a pain. However, it’s crucial to take your baby’s symptoms and signals carefully. It’s time to consult your doctor if your symptoms don’t go away or get worse. 

What happens when babies get the flu? 

Body pains, chills, coughing, exhaustion, fever, headache, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea are some of the symptoms of the flu. Call your child’s doctor as soon as you suspect that they have the flu. Serious flu complications can sometimes be avoided with prompt treatment. 

Can babies catch a cold from mothers? 

Babies that are breastfed inherit all or a portion of their mother’s resistance to the diseases to which she has been exposed. However, this does not imply that breastfed infants are fully resistant to colds. 

Can I bathe my baby with a cold and cough? 

A feverish baby can be comforted and their temperature may be reduced by a few degrees with the use of a lukewarm sponge bath. Use a sponge or washcloth to clean them in a tub filled with an inch or two of warm water. Avoid using alcohol, ice, or cold water. Take them out of the bath if they are cold. 

Do toddlers sleep more when sick? 

You should be able to wake your child up if you try, and she should respond to your queries or, if she’s too young to do so, at least focus on you. However, sick toddlers and children will frequently sleep more than they normally would because slumber helps the body heal. 

Can breast milk help my toddler’s cold? 

The truth is that breastfed newborns are significantly more protected against all forms of diseases, including the common cold and flu, and that mom’s breast milk provides the quickest and most effective recovery if and when they do get sick. 

Should I let sick toddler sleep all day? 

Put them to bed. get a nap yourself if at all possible. Yes, sleep is the only thing that will make you feel better when you are sick, whether you want to stay in bed all day or go to bed at 8.30 p.m. Even with a cold, it is remarkable how it will benefit them. 

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