Cold in Babies: Major Causes, Signs, Symptoms

What is Cold in Babies?

Cold in babies is a viral infection which is accompanied by running nose. One of the most common symptoms is the congestion of nose that can also cause breathing obstruction during cold in babies.

What is Cold in Babies?

Cold in babies is a common occurrence as they are often surrounded by older children or other people who need not necessarily keep their hands clean all the time and they try to handle the babies. Moreover, babies are prone to cold infection because of their amateur and still developing immune system. Babies can frequently catch cold during the first year of birth. It is a common occurrence.

General treatment for cold in babies include consumption of fluids however contacting the physician is necessary if the symptoms are visible. Common cold in babies can rapidly turn into pneumonia if left untreated. Therefore, parents should be vigilant in order to avoid problems to their babies.

Why Does My Baby Get So Many Colds?

Cold in babies is a common occurrence. The immune system of the baby is not developed to ward off the common cold viruses. There are different types of microorganisms responsible for causing the cold in babies. A new born child has to get affected by each of them to make their immune system stronger and durable.

Growing babies are curious as they want to taste and explore new objects in their surrounding ambience. They touch new things and put fingers into their mouth, nose or rub their eyes that results in the spreading of viral infection. Cold in babies is common during the autumn and the winter season because indoor heating system eliminates moisture out of the nasal membranes. Child may also catch infection from other people as mostly spend time inside the home in the time of winter.

How Can I Tell If My Baby Has a Cold and not the Flu or Some Other Condition, or Allergies?

Cold in babies is not easy to differentiate with other infections. In case of common cold in babies, thick mucus is released from running nose which can transform in to yellow or green color within a week. The baby might be also suffering from cough or light fever.

In case of high fever, check the behavior of the child when the body temperature decreases. If the kid is active it might be a common cold however in case of inactivity even if the fever is absent, calls for immediate attention because it may be something serious than a simple cold.

Symptoms of flu include high fever, vomiting or diarrhea while congestion and coughing are the primary symptoms of the common cold in babies.

Allergic symptoms include sneezing attacks at regular intervals of time and watery eyes. Moreover, it also causes itchiness of skin which stays for weeks or even months. Mucous released during allergic reactions do not turn thick or green as in the common cold in babies. Generally allergy is not the reason of fever in children.

Major Causes of Cold in Babies

Cold in babies is caused by the infection to the upper part of the respiratory system. Coronavirus and rhinovirus are the primary agents spreading infection. There are more than 100 viruses that can cause cold in babies.

Major Causes of Cold in Babies

If the baby is infected by a particular common cold virus, he or she develops immunity against the same however there are many more mutations that can cause the cold in babies in the future. In order to develop complete immunity, the baby has to become the victim of cold many times in the year. Generally, these cold causing viruses enters the baby’s body through their nose or mouth. There are other different modes through which the virus can infect new born babies.

  • An infected individual can spread infection to the baby through talking (spit), cough and sneeze. The virus travels through the air to causing cold in babies.
  • Direct contact. If an infected individual touches the baby and then the baby might put their own finger in their mouth or nose resulting in cold in babies.
  • Contaminated surfaces. Contaminated toys are primary sources of infection because they provide perfect breeding ground for the viruses and causes cold in babies.

Signs and Symptoms of Cold in Babies

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of cold in babies are as follows:

  • Nasal congestion or a running nose.
  • Light nasal mucous that gets transformed into thicker and greener or yellowish discharge.

Other symptomatic features of cold in babies are given below:

  • Fever accompanied by low temperature (about 38 C/100 F)
  • Bouts of sneezing
  • Cough
  • Poor appetite
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty getting sleep.
  • Breathing issues due to congestion in nasal tract.

The immune system of babies would develop over a period of years. Common cold symptoms in babies are reduced within 10 days if they are not accompanied by any complications.

Cold in babies who are newly born are normal but the parents have to be still very cautious. If the new born baby less than 3 months old is affected with cold, it is important to call the doctor because the situation can quickly metamorphose into pneumonia or croup. Congestion in nose prevents the child from feeding through the bottle. It may result in dehydration or loss of water from the body. The doctor is the best person to provide guidance on how the cold in babies should be treated when he or she is suffering from common cold symptoms.

Symptoms of cold in babies who are 3 months old that require immediate attention of the doctor:

  • Visible change in the wetting pattern of the baby or the baby does not urinate enough.
  • Constant temp in excess of 100 F.
  • Ear pain accompanied by irritability.
  • Red eyes or yellowish secretion from the eyes.
  • Breathing issues.
  • Constant coughing.
  • Thick green mucous discharge regularly from the nose.
  • Other common symptoms of cold.

Emergency help is required for cold in babies if the baby:

  • Is not able to consume fluids or food.
  • Vomits while coughing or skin color is changed.
  • Coughs to release sputum with blood stains
  • Is having breathing difficulties with sky blue color around the lips.

Homemade remedies prior to calling the doctor include the moistening of the air at home and usage of the suction bulb or saline to eliminate the residual mucous from their nose.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 30, 2019

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