What it is
Common cold is caused by different viruses. The viruses enter the mucus layer of the nose and throat making it inflamed. Mucus is produced in the nose as a way to trap particles of the virus and remove them from the body.[pq]The cold virus is transmitted from one person to another by hand contact, sneezing, and coughing. Cold air and drafts do not cause a cold.[/pq]
- Runny or stuffed nose with watery, runny or thick discharge
- Sneezing and coughing
- Breathing difficulty (baby breathing through the mouth rather than the nose because nasal passages are blocked.)
- Sore throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- May be accompanied by fever
Ways to prevent/treat
There is no cure for the common cold. A child’s immune system fights it within five to seven days, and then the cold disappears. While there is no cure, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms. Bear in mind that a common cold may be a sign of something more serious.
- Keep the baby away from smoke (cigarette smoke, smoke from vehicles).
- Keep the baby away from those who have the common cold.
- If there is a fever of 38 degrees Celsius and above, infant paracetamol may be given (only for babies over three months old).
- If the baby is feeding normally, and isn’t running a high fever, no treatment may be required.
- Clear the blocked nose with the use of saline nose drops or by suctioning.
- Increase fluids if accompanied by cough.
- Medications such as over-the-counter decongestants may be given upon physician’s approval.
See the doctor if:
- This is your baby’s first cold
- There is high fever (over 39 degrees Celsius for over 24 hours)
- Your baby has difficulty breathing and cries a lot
- Your baby’s nappies remain dry (dehydration can occur)
- Your baby doesn’t not feed and has trouble sleeping
- There’s earache
- There is yellowish eye-discharge