One of the most unpleasant things that could happen to a new mom who is still getting used to taking care of her new bundle of joy is to see her baby not feeling well. When a baby gets sick, everyone in the family becomes stressed, because most people tend to believe that a young baby is fragile, and he or she does not deserve to experience discomfort so soon.
However, even the most experienced parents who use the best methods to take care of their babies will find their babies with the common cold. This is not such a serious ailment, given that it even has the word common in its name. The common cold is a viral infection that mostly affects the nose, throat, and the upper respiratory tract. Varieties of viruses are responsible for this ailment, with the most common ones being the rhinoviruses. The common cold virus spreads through direct contact with an infected person, inhaling contaminated air, or touching contaminated surfaces.
Babies have a great chance of catching the common cold because their immune system is fragile. They also get into contact with many people who want to kiss and hug them, actions that expose them to the virus. Babies who share toys with toddlers and other babies are also at a high risk. Symptoms of the common cold appear one to three days from the day of exposure. They vary from baby to baby and sometimes are hard to detect. Some symptoms mimic the common cold but they reveal other ailments upon close examination.
Here is a list of ten symptoms of the common cold, and ten symptoms of other things that are usually confused with the common cold.
20 Fever - Sign Of A Cold
One of the most alarming symptoms that a baby is unwell is when he or she has a fever. If the baby feels hot to the touch, with a fever of above 38°C then something is not right. The common cold causes fevers in babies since it is a way for the baby to fight off the cold.
A doctor should check a baby who is under three months of age if they show signs of a fever. For older babies, the common cold should not persist for more than three days. Ensuring that the baby is dressed lightly and administering fluids reduces the discomfort of a fever. It is wise to be on the lookout for other symptoms that come with the fever to determine if the fever is because of the common cold or something else entirely.
19 Itchy Ears - Sign It’s Something Else
Itchy ears are one of the symptoms of a common cold. However, sometimes the baby may have itchy ears caused by a bacterial ear infection, which has nothing to do with a cold. Children are more prone to these ailments, especially for children between six months and two years old. You can know when a baby has an infected ear when they tug on their ears many times, or when they shake their head from side to side and cry in pain.
Ear infections also cause a shift in the ear pressure making it difficult for the baby to lie down or sleep. Some bacterial ear infections cause pus or yellow discharge to block the ear canal. If a baby shows symptoms for more than three days, it is wise to seek medical advice.
18 Coughing - Sign Of A Cold
A dry cough accompanied by a running nose and a fever are the most common symptoms of the common cold. Coughing is a way of the body to keep airways clear by removing whatever is irritating the throat. A cough that is the result of a cold sounds dry and it is not very persistent. A wet cough indicates an advanced respiratory infection that is mostly caused by bacteria.
The best way to treat a cough is with fluids and plenty of rest since most medical professionals advice against over the counter cough syrups for children. Children who are younger than three months do not cough much. If they do, a doctor should check them out because it could be something serious. If a cough persists for more than a week, it calls for a doctor's visit.
17 Loose Stool - Sign It’s Something Else
Tracking a baby's poo is a good way of knowing if the baby is feeding well, if they are healthy, and if something is not right in their system. Occasional loose stools are normal in babies. However, if your baby passes frequent runny poo without lumps, then they are experiencing diarrhea.
Many things including the common cold, allergies, enzyme efficiency, improper formula feeds, or reactions to antibiotics can cause this. Most of the time, it goes away by itself. If you cannot tell why the baby has runny poo, consult a medical practitioner. Keep your baby comfortable by giving them fluids, fruit, and bland foods during this time.
16 Sneezing - Sign Of A Cold
Sneezing is a reflex reaction that is a result of irritated nasal passages. Infants sneeze more than adults do because they have small nasal passages that are easily irritated. Anything from mucus, cold air, lint, breastmilk, and smoke can trigger sneezing.
However, sneezing in babies is not always a normal thing. Frequent sneezing could be a symptom of the common cold. If the sneezing occurs together with a runny nose, congestion, coughing, and a fever, it may indicate that the baby has a cold. Treatment for sneezing includes gentle suction of the baby's nasal passage with a suction bulb to ease congestion. Clearing the nasal passage with saline drops also helps. You can also use a humidifier when the baby is sleeping.
15 Wheezing - Sign It’s Something Else
Wheezing in babies is a characteristic of difficulty in breathing, where the baby takes tiny breaths with a whistling sound. Some wheezing in newborn babies is normal since their airways are small and they are getting used to breathing. Wheezing can also be a symptom of a cold that causes congestion in the nasal passage.
Sometimes wheezing can be confused for a common cold while it indicates something else. Keep baby comfortable by avoiding congested areas, cold air, and smoke. If the wheezing appears alongside fevers, blue lips, chills, coughing, and poor feeding, then you should visit a doctor as soon as you can.
14 Nasal Congestion - Sign Of A Cold
Nasal congestion in infants is common since they breathe through the nose since birth to about two months of age. Some babies experience neonatal nasal congestion resulting from a difficult birth process where some amniotic fluid gets into their nasal passage and they get irritated. Acid reflux can also cause viral nasal infection causing congestion. However, the most common cause of nasal congestion in babies is the common cold.
Typical nasal congestion causes poor feeding, nasal discharge, irritability, sneezing, problematic breathing, and difficulty sleeping. To help alleviate the problems caused by nasal congestion, use of saline drops helps to loosen the mucus making it easy to remove with the help of a bulb suction device. A steamy bath and sleeping with a humidifier can also help.
13 Rashes - Sign It’s Something Else
Hives and rashes are sore, swollen, and red patches on the baby's skin that are itchy and inflamed. They appear on the baby's skin and can last from a few hours to a few days. Hives are the result of the body releasing histamine chemicals in excess causing the skin to break out. They are also synonymous with the common cold since they can also be the result of a bacterial infection. It is common to assume that hives around the mouth and throat are a symptom of a common cold, but sometimes they may result from other conditions as well.
The first thing to do if a baby has hives and rashes is to find out what triggers them. Cool compresses and warm baths help to reduce the itchiness and redness. Avoid dressing the baby in snug clothes around the area where they have hives.
12 Irritability - Sign Of A Cold
When babies are unwell, they do not know how to communicate what they feel. By observing their behavior, you will be able to tell when something is disturbing them. Irritability is one of the symptoms that a baby is uncomfortable about something. If a baby seems extra agitated, frustrated, and upset then you know that something is bothering him or her.
The common cold is one of the reasons that a baby may be irritable. A baby can experience a fever, aches, and congestion, which keep him or her awake and prevent him or her from feeding properly. This is frustrating for the baby hence the extra fussiness. Holding the baby, giving him or her a warm bath, and giving him or her fluids can help to reduce irritability.
11 Red Itchy Eyes - Sign It’s Something Else
It is common for parents to see red eyes on their baby and assume that the baby is on the verge of catching a cold. More often than not, red itchy eyes are synonymous with the common cold. However, other times the red eyes may indicate a different problem.
If the baby shows other symptoms including thick discharge from the eyes, aversion to bright light, flinching upon touch, and red lines in the white part of the eye, it could indicate that the eyes have an infection. Treat this by wiping with a cotton swab soaked in saline water. If it persists for more than three days without any improvement, seek medical intervention.
10 Decreased Appetite - Sign Of A Cold
Decreased appetite is a common symptom when babies are not feeling well. If a baby has a cold, he or she may experience fevers that lead to a decreased appetite. Fevers also cause fatigue and dehydration causing the baby to avert food and drinks. Other common cold symptoms such as congestion, sore throat, and headaches make it difficult for the baby to feed.
The remedy for decreased appetite is to feed the baby with as many fluids as possible to avoid fatigue and dehydration. You can also feed the baby with healthy fruits and fruit juice to give them some energy and give their lost appetite a little boost. Avoid synthetic over-the-counter appetizers since they are not good for children. If the decreased appetite lasts for more than a week, it is wise to have a doctor conduct a closer examination.
9 Difficulty Breathing - Sign It’s Something Else
Caregivers should monitor newborn babies closely for any inconsistency in their breathing patterns. It is normal for a baby to change the pace of breathing especially when they are asleep but this normalizes, as they grow older. You can tell if your baby has difficulty breathing if the make troubled or whistling sounds as they breathe. Other symptoms include nasal flaring, grunting, wheezing, chest retraction, and shallow breathing.
Babies who are born prematurely have common cases of difficulty breathing since their lungs are immature and prone to infections. Acid reflux can block the nasal passage causing labored breathing. If you cannot tell the reason for the baby's difficulty breathing, seek medical intervention.
8 Difficulty Sleeping - Sign Of A Cold
Babies spend most of their time sleeping, which is good for their growth. When babies are unwell, they need even more sleep and rest. Battling a common cold can make it difficult for the baby to sleep well. Annoying common cold symptoms such as congestion, sore throat, coughing, irritability, and fevers make it hard for the baby to get uninterrupted rest.
If the baby is unable to sleep, you can make a sleep routine of soothing them to sleep. Start by feeding them with fluids and fruit. Try to encourage them to play a bit so that they get fatigue out of the way. If the cold is weighing down on them, make bath time fun to comfort them to sleep. You can play a little bath time game with the help of toys and music. After bath time, encourage the baby to sleep with whatever method works for them. Keep their sleep area quiet, well aerated, and comfortable.
7 A Cough That Stains The Tissue Red - Sign It’s Something Else
Any spots of red that occur after coughing (in babies or in adults) is always a sign that something requires medical attention. Hemoptysis is an indication that something is not right in the body. Sometimes babies may cough out blood-stained mucus if they have a sore throat from a common cold, or if they have had recent nosebleeds.
Babies with chronic lung disorders, pneumonia, and cystic fibrosis can occasionally cough out blood. If the baby coughs red mucous more than once, seek medical advice.
6 A Runny Nose - Sign Of A Cold
A runny nose is usually one of the symptoms that your baby is coming down with a cold. If the baby has an itchy nose with clear mucus running down the nostrils, it leads to a common cold most of the time. The mucus may change its consistency from light to thick as the cold continues to get worse.
If the mucus is running freely without causing congestion, then there is no need for alarm. Just wipe it away gently to avoid nasal irritation. If the mucus thickens and results in congestion, the remedy is to irrigate the baby's nostrils with saline water. Use a humidifier in their sleep area to keep the air moist.
5 Swollen Lymph Nodes - Sign It’s Something Else
Lymph nodes are located all over the body to protect it from infections by boosting the immune system. They swell up when the body has an illness or virus and return to their original size when the body heals. Things such as the common cold cause the lymph nodes to swell.
It may not be easy to note when a baby's lymph nodes swell unless you take a very keen interest. Healthcare providers can conduct physical tests to feel if the lymph nodes are swollen. The treatment given depends on the reason for the swelling. Common infections can go away without medication. Some others require antibiotic interventions while others may require further testing and treatment.
4 Red Eyes - Sign Of A Cold
When a baby has a cold, more often than not, the eyes, ears, and throat will appear different. The common cold virus affects areas with a mucous membrane, which is why in addition to a sore throat and runny nose, the baby may show red teary eyes. The virus from the cold enters the eyes causing a viral conjunctivitis infection.
The remedy for red eyes from a common cold infection is to wipe them with saline water. Make saline water at home by mixing a quarter teaspoon of salt with a cup of clean distilled water. Use a different cotton ball to wipe each eye twice a day. Wipe the eye from the nose going outwards to keep from adding more dirt to the eye. Also, discourage the baby from scratching their eyes with their hands.
3 A Persistent Sore Throat - Sign It’s Something Else
A persistent sore throat is a worrisome ailment for a baby since it prevents them from feeding well leading to dehydration. Most of the time, a sore throat is confused for a symptom resulting from a common cold infection. As much as that is usually the case, the persistent sore throat can be an indication of something else.
A sore throat should not last for more than seven days. Depending on the severity of a sore throat, giving warm fluids and fruit can help to alleviate the pain and prevent dehydration. If the baby's throat is too sore to the point of refusing to swallow anything, seeking immediate medical intervention is the best course of action.
2 Unusual Snoring - Sign Of A Cold
It is common for newborn babies to snore occasionally especially when they are deep asleep. Mostly they snore when they have a stuffy nose, or when they strain in their sleeping position. One of the remedies for snoring is positioning the baby properly during sleep time. However, the baby can also snore because they have a cold. Nasal congestion from a cold causes unusual snoring due to irritation and blockage of the baby's nasal passage.
To help a baby sleep better, you can reduce the snoring by irrigating the baby's nasal passage with saline water before bedtime. You can also use a humidifier in the baby's sleep area to keep the air moist. Ensure that the baby sleeps in a comfortable position.
1 Excess Drooling - Sign It’s Something Else
Drooling is a normal thing, especially for small babies who have not developed an automatic swallowing pattern for saliva. Sometimes a baby may drool excessively from time to time due to a common cold or teething but the drooling does not persist for long. Wetness caused by excessive drooling can result in rashes around the mouth, neck, and chest area.
Keep the baby in a bib to prevent him or her from wetting his or her clothes all the time. Excessive drooling, however, is a sign of something else. Babies who continue to drool excessively after passing the two-year-old mark should have a physician examine them. Depending on the cause of the drooling, a medical practitioner can provide a solution for it.