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Baby's First Cold

By Kelli J. Shidler, M.D.

Around this time of year, many people start to get sick because of the cold weather. As a new parent your baby’s first cold can be a little unsettling. It’s actually pretty common for new babies to get colds because they tend to have a weak immune system at such a young age. The basic virus usually lasts from 7-10 days. Unfortunately, it is possible for the virus to last up to 2 weeks, or even longer.

What are the symptoms of my baby’s cold?

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Fussy at night
  • Lack of appetite

What is the treatment for my baby's cold?

  • Nasal Saline
  • Bulb suction
  • Cool mist humidifier

These treatments are recommended because the baby will want to feel as comfortable as possible during the cold. Babies naturally breathe through their nose when they eat and when they sleep, so they tend to get fussy and upset when they get a cold. Nasal saline is perfectly safe for your child because it simply breaks up the mucus. Feel to use nasal saline up to 6-8 times a day. When using the bulb suction you should squeeze all the air out, place it in your child’s nostril, then release, and repeat. Be sure to clean the bulb suction with a tissue after you have completed the suction. Suction 3-4 times a day, any more can cause irritation to your baby.

What antibiotics would be prescribed?

If the symptoms get worse or other issues surface during the 7-10 of the cold, then your child could be prescribed to an antibiotic. Since the cold is caused by a virus the antibiotics would not affected any of the symptoms of the cold.

Do not use over the counter cold and cough treatments for babies. Studies have shown the over the counter medicines do not work for children 6 years and younger. If symptoms suddenly change within those 10 days of the cold, give your doctor a call.