Cold in Babies: Risk Factors, Complications, Treatment, Lifestyle Changes

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.

Treatment for Cold in Babies

In this article you will read about the risk factors for cold in babies, complications, treatment options, and lifestyle changes required for cold in babies.

Risk Factors for Cold in Babies

The factors that increase the risk of cold in babies are as follows:

  • Under developed immune systems is the primary risk factor for cold in babies. New born babies have weak immune system because they are not exposed to the virus as grown up kids or adults. Therefore, cold in babies can happen.
  • Exposure to older children is the secondary risk factor for cold in babies. Infants spend major part of the time with their elder brothers and sisters inside the house. Grown up kids do not wash their hands properly leading to the spread of infection for newly born babies.
  • Phase of year is also an important factor for cold in babies. In winters, the babies are vulnerable to cold because people spend their most of the time inside the home and the possibility of infections spreading from one person to another is higher in indoor conditions as compared to outdoors. So, the probability of catching by common cold is high as compared to the summer season.

Complications of Cold in Babies

The following are the complications for cold in babies:

  • Acute ear infection or otitis media can be a possible complication for cold in babies. Ear infection is one of the primary symptoms affecting the babies. It occurs because the virus seeps through ear drum and enters into the body.
  • Wheezing is a potential complication for cold in babies. Congestion in the nasal tract can cause wheezing in the babies without asthma. In case of chronic asthma, the wheezing might become more pronounced and cause further problems.
  • Sinusitis is also a possible complication for cold in babies. Treatment of common cold is necessary because it might lead to sinus infection.
  • Other secondary infections are also complications for cold in babies. Common cold snow balls into pneumonia, bronchitis along with croup. They require immediate attention by the doctor.

Treatment for Cold in Babies

At present, medical science does not have any treatment for cold in babies. Even antibiotics are not helpful for cold in babies. Parents can make the air moist or remove the mucous from the nose of their babies. In case the symptoms persist, call the doctors for immediate help and relief in the baby is less than 3 months old.

Parent should avoid administering over the counter generic drugs for cold in babies. They can use medicines for reducing the temperature but only according to the directed dosage for babies. Anti-cough medications should not be given to the babies and young children at all.

Fever-Reducing Medications for Cold in Babies

Fever reducing medications can be very soothing for cold in babies. Acetaminophen is one of the best medicines to get relief from fever caused due to cold in babies. It should not be administered to the baby with age below 3 months. If you are giving it to the older babies, make sure to follow the dosage guidelines. In case of any confusion, call the doctors to get the required information as far as the dosage is concerned for the baby.

For cold in babies who are more than 6months old, Ibuprofen (advil or children’s motrin) is ideal to reduce the temperature. These medications should not be administered to the infant if he or she is suffering from dehydration and poor appetite.

Aspirin can be administered to the kids above 2 years of age but they should not be suffering from chicken pox or flu since aspirin can cause side effects in the form of disease called REYES syndrome. It can be potentially dangerous to children; therefore parents need to avoid aspirin for the kids and prevent the occurrence of complications.

Cough and Cold Medications for Cold in Babies

Cough and cold medications should never be used for cold in babies. They can be very harmful for cold in babies. FDA or the Food and Drug Administration authority has stipulated that over the counter cough and cold medications should not be allowed to the kids with age below 2 years. The medicines do not strike at the root of the common cold in babies but only try to provide relief from the symptoms. Long term consumption side effects include heart palpitations accompanied by convulsions.

In the month of June 2008, the consumer healthcare product association made it mandatory for over the counter medications to carry the tag “Do not use for children below 4 years of age”. In addition, many manufacturers have stopped the production line of such medicines for the babies.

Lifestyle Changes for Cold in Babies

There are certain lifestyle changes that parents can take to prevent common cold in babies, such as:

  • Providing good amount of fluids to the baby can help fight against cold in babies. This is a good lifestyle change. Baby should be administered lots of fluids to prevent the instances of dehydration. Baby should be cajoled to maintain the normal intake of the liquid. Do not try to force feed or it may result in other problems. Breast feeding for the infant should not be stopped because it provides impeccable immunity against the attacks of bacteria virus and other harmful microorganisms.
  • Making a lifestyle change of removing the mucus from the baby’s nose at regular intervals can help for cold in babies. Thinning of the mucus is essential to stop the nasal congestion. Mothers can use saline nasal drop to accomplish the task. You can buy the drops from the local pharmacy store.
  • Usage of bulb syringes is a good remedy for cold in babies. To clear the nose of the baby, use the rubber bulb syringe. Initially the bulb syringe is pressed hard to release the air. Thereafter about a quarter or half the inch of the bulb is inserted into nostrils of the kid with positioning towards the back and the sides. Once the bulb is released, it sucks all the mucus from the nose. The syringe is then removed from the nose and the mucus is released onto a tissue paper. The process should be removed many times so that the congestion is completely eliminated. After the process is completed, the syringe should be washed with soap and water.
  • Air humidification is one of the important lifestyle tip for fighting cold in babies. It is important to humidify the air because moist environment helps does not allow the spread of the viruses. Parents can use the humidifier in the air to provide relief to the baby from running nose and congestion. Mist should not be allowed to creep into the bed because it can make the bedding damp and result in spread of bacterial and viral infection. Mothers can spend time with the baby in a steamy bathroom before sleeping to prevent the proliferation of harmful microorganisms. Water need to be replaced on a regular basis as it does not allow the growth of molds and subsequent infections.
  • Family members should consider changing their lifestyles for cold in babies. It can be simple things. Family members should wash their hands properly prior to taking the baby in their arms. Dirty hands increase the probability of transmission of disease including common cold in babies. Babies are susceptible to infection in compared to the one or two month old children. Kids spending time in day care are at a higher risk of contracting the disease because they are in close vicinity of other children as compared to the home. Even mothers need to wash their hands regularly prior to preparing food or removing the wet diapers.

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:February 1, 2019

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