How to Treat an Infant Cold

Опубликовал Admin
23-10-2017, 23:00
Expert Reviewed Watching your baby suffer through a cold can be both nerve-wracking and heart-wrenching, especially if your child demonstrates obvious signs of discomfort. Infants under the age of three months should see a doctor as soon as they show signs of illness. However, babies older than three months can wait as long as their symptoms do not get too severe. Focus on easing the symptoms of the cold using safe home remedies and avoid medication. If your baby gets significantly worse or does not improve within a week, contact a doctor.

Using Medicine to Treat the Cold

  1. Contact your doctor if your baby is under three months or has irregular symptoms. Most colds for babies will go away within 10 to 14 days. However, if your baby is under three months, contact your doctor as soon as the baby gets sick. For newborns, colds can turn into serious illnesses.
    • You should also contact your doctor if your baby isn’t wetting as many diapers, has a temperature over 100 F (38 C), is extremely irritable, has any eye discharge, has difficulty breathing, or has a cough that won’t go away. If a baby younger than 2 to 3 months has a rectal temperature of 100.4 or higher, then they will need immediate medical attention.
    • If your baby has any symptoms that worry you, contact your doctor immediately. It’s better to get your baby checked out than not.
  2. Use fever-reducing medication. Acetaminophen is safe for children three months and up, and ibuprofen is safe for kids six months and up. Look for over-the-counter medication that can be given in small doses and carefully obey the instructions. These medications often come in "children's formulas" that are safe for infants. If you have any questions about the dose your infant can receive, contact your doctor.
    • Ask your doctor before giving the infant this medication for the first time.
    • Avoid these medications if your child is dehydrated or vomiting, as it could make the condition worse.
    • Allowing your baby to have a low-grade fever may help them fight the cold virus. Consider only giving them these medications if the fever rises to 102 F (39 C) or they are experiencing discomfort.
  3. Avoid giving your infant over-the-counter cough and cold medicine. The FDA strongly advises against over-the-counter cold medicine for children younger than two years old, and many manufacturers have stopped making these products for children under the age of four. These medications may ease symptoms but come with a risk of severe side effects, including rapid heart rate, convulsions, and dangerous sedation.
    • The cold medicines don’t treat the causes of colds or coughs, so it won’t help your child recover from the cold. Remember that there are other ways to treat the symptoms. Sometimes the risks of medicine outweigh the benefits.

Treating Specific Symptoms

  1. Use a combination of saline drops and suction to remove excess mucus. Tip your infant's head back and squeeze drops of an over-the-counter or homemade saline solution into the nostrils. This helps thin out the mucus and make it easier to remove. Allow a few minutes to pass before suctioning the loosened mucus out with a rubber bulb syringe.
    • Squeeze the bulb to release any air. Gently insert the tip of the syringe into your baby’s nose. Only stick the syringe inside the nose ¼ to ½ inch (0.64 to 1.27 cm). Angle the tip towards the back and side of the nose.
    • The best times to do this are before feeding your baby or before putting them to bed.
  2. Apply petroleum jelly to your baby's nose. Rub a thin coating of petroleum jelly on the outside of your baby's nose to reduce irritation, focusing on areas that look red and sore. Avoid using any medicated nasal sprays on your baby because this can make the congestion worse.
  3. Run a humidifier. A humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer sends moisture out into the room, which can reduce your baby's nasal inflammation and relieve stuffiness. Placing a humidifier in your sick infant's room may make it easier for him or her to fall asleep.
    • A humidifier does have the potential to cause burns. You might want to err on the side of caution and choose a cool-mist vaporizer.
    • Make sure that you change the water each day and clean the machine as directed.
  4. Sit with your baby in a steamy bathroom. Take your baby with you into the bathroom, close the door, and run the hot water for 15 minutes or so. The steam will moisten the air and relieve stuffiness.
    • This can help your baby's nasal and chest congestion.
  5. Avoid giving your baby honey before their first birthday. Warm honey is an effective remedy for sore throats and can tame a cough, but in babies below the age of one year, it can cause an illness known as infant botulism.
    • If your baby is over the age of one, try ½ teaspoon before bedtime.

Keeping Your Child Comfortable

  1. Make sure your baby gets plenty of rest. The human body uses a lot of energy in fighting off infection. Keep your baby out of stressful situations and encourage calm forms of play instead of active play.
    • For example, you can do things with your baby that will entertain them without having them move around a lot or get excited. You can also give them toys that will occupy them but keep them calm. Try reading to them or offering them their favorite stuffed animal. You could also sing or play music for them.
  2. Give your baby fluids. Drinking fluids prevents dehydration and thins out nasal secretions. You don’t have to give your baby any extra fluids, but you should make sure that they continue ingesting the same amount of fluids as usual. However, if your baby has certain symptoms, such as a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or rapid breathing, then they will need more fluids than normal.
    • For babies six months or older, try plain water, fruit juices, ice pops, or an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte or Enfalyte.
    • For children less than six months, stick with breast milk or formula. Breast milk provides immune-boosting properties that can help protect your baby from germs.
    • If your baby won't take fluids, call your doctor. You might need to take your baby in to see a medical professional.
  3. Offer your infant warm liquids. If he or she is six months or older, your infant can have chicken soup, warm chamomile tea, warm water, and warmed broth. Warm clear liquids can relieve sore throats, congestion, aches, and fatigue.
    • Make sure the liquids are not hot, but warm. They should not scald or hurt your baby.


  • Reduce exposure to germs by instructing family and friends to wash their hands before picking up your baby. Request that sick children and adults postpone their visits until after they recover and are no longer contagious.
  • Babies 6 months and older should be vaccinated against influenza to reduce their chances of getting the flu, which is much more serious for a baby than the common cold.


  • Never give your baby aspirin. When given to individuals 18 years or younger, aspirin can trigger a rare condition known as Reye's syndrome. This condition can prove fatal.
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