A newborn baby’s immune system may catch and fight viruses that cause colds before it fully develops. Pregnant women begin to pass antibodies to their embryos during the last three months of pregnancy. This passive immunity is retained by newborns for a short period of time, but it wears off within the first weeks and months of life.
As their immune system develops, newborns are more likely to catch a common cold. While the symptoms may be terrifying for parents or caregivers, these illnesses are life-threatening. They help the developing immune system of the baby learn to combat the various viruses that cause the common cold.
Colds are common in children under the age of one. A newborn cold necessitates special attention, but colds are common.
Symptoms of a newborn cold
Excess nasal discharge in newborns with colds may begin runny and watery but thicken to a yellow or green discharge within a few days. This is the natural progression of the infection and does not necessarily indicate that symptoms are worsening.
Other symptoms of a newborn cold include: sneezing, coughing, irritability or fussiness, red eyes, a lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, and difficulty feeding due to a stuffy nose.
A slight fever may also develop as their body fights off the infection.
If a newborn has a rectal fever of more than 100.4 °F, a caregiver should consult a paediatrician to rule out a more serious infection than a cold.
Is it a cold or something more serious?
A paediatrician can conduct a thorough examination to determine whether a newborn has a cold or another illness.
While many of the above symptoms are common for a variety of disorders, newborns with flu, croup, or pneumonia frequently exhibit additional symptoms.
A newborn with flu may experience cold symptoms as well as vomiting, diarrhoea, or a higher fever.
The baby may also be fussy because of other symptoms that they are too young to express. A baby with the flu may appear sicker than a baby with a cold, but this is not always the case.
Croup symptoms in babies are similar to those of a cold, but they can worsen quickly. Babies may develop a harsh, barking cough. They may have difficulty breathing, which could cause them to make straining, squeaking noises, or sound hoarse when they cough.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, starts as a cold, but symptoms can change after about a week. The baby may develop a severe hacking cough that makes breathing difficult.
This cough may cause the baby to take deep breaths that sound like a “whoop” right after coughing. The classic “whoop” is, however, more common in older children and adults than in babies. When an infant has whooping cough, he or she frequently vomits after coughing. They may also turn blue for a brief period of time or stop breathing.
Whooping cough is a serious illness that necessitates immediate medical attention.
Babies are more likely than older people to develop pneumonia from a cold. This can happen quickly, which is why it’s critical to see a pediatrician.
• high fever, sweating, and flushed skin
• a persistent cough that worsens over time
• abdominal sensitivity
Babies suffering from pneumonia may have difficulty breathing. They may be breathing faster than usual, or their breathing may sound strained.
In some cases, their lips or fingers may appear blueish, indicating that they are not getting enough oxygen and require immediate medical attention.
RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) (RSV)
RSV is a respiratory virus that typically infects children before the age of two. It usually appears as a common cold, but it can be more serious in newborns and cause complications.
RSV symptoms include:
• runny nose
• lack of appetite
• complications such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis Treatment
A newborn cold can be treated at home by a parent or caregiver. The baby’s body is learning to protect itself, and the best help adults can provide is comfort during this time. It could take up to two weeks for a baby’s symptoms to disappear completely.
Over-the-counter cold medications for babies are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) because they do not work and can have serious side effects.
- Pediatricians may recommend a variety of home remedies to help babies with their first colds. These are some examples:
- Hydration: When a baby has a cold, mucus and fever can deplete vital liquids and electrolytes. They should be kept hydrated by their parents or caregivers.
- Cleaning their nasal passages: Using nasal saline drops and a rubber syringe to clean out a baby’s nose may help them breathe easier.
- Humidity: Moistening the area around the baby’s crib with a gentle cool-mist humidifier may help them breathe better and relieve congestion.
- Steam: For 10-15 minutes, place the baby in a steamy bathroom with hot water running to loosen mucus. A person should always supervise an infant near hot water to prevent burn injuries.
- Rest: It may be best to avoid going out in public and give the baby plenty of time to rest while they heal .Any worsening of symptoms should be discussed with a pediatrician.
- Risks and mitigation
The viruses that cause the common cold can spread through the air or through contact with an infected person. A person infected with the virus may not exhibit any symptoms. Different factors, such as exposure to older children or being around smokers, may increase the risk of a newborn catching a cold. Steps that can be taken to reduce their exposure include:
• regular hand washing by anyone who comes into contact with the baby
• avoiding people who are sick or have been around someone who is sick
• limiting crowd exposure
• avoiding secondhand smoke
When a parent breastfeeds their child, the baby may retain some passive immunity for a longer period of time due to immune compounds in the milk. This is not to say that the baby will not become ill, but they may become ill less frequently and fight off infections more easily than formula-fed babies.
When should you consult a doctor?
A fever is one of a baby’s first lines of defense against infections like colds. A fever of 100.4 °F or higher in a newborn warrants a visit to the doctor. If a young baby has a fever that lasts more than a few days or that goes away for a day or two but then returns, a person should consult a healthcare professional.
Even in the face of a serious infection, very young babies may not have a fever. If a newborn appears ill, even if there is no fever, seek medical attention.
• It is also critical to see a pediatrician if the baby exhibits any other unusual symptoms, such as difficulty breathing.
• an unusual cry or cough;
• signs of physical pain or discomfort;
• difficulty or refusal to eat;
• skin rashes;
• persistent diarrhea or vomiting;
• dehydration and decreased urine output
A baby may not show symptoms in some cases, but a parent or caregiver may notice that something does not seem “right.” If a parent has any doubts about their child’s symptoms, they should seek medical attention.
It is impossible to avoid every germ in a baby’s developing environment, and getting sick is as common for them as it is for the rest of us. The most important thing a parent or caregiver can do is make them feel at ease while their body fights the cold.
Colds can progress to more serious illnesses, so regular checkups with a paediatrician are essential, particularly if a baby has a high fever or other symptoms. It is critical to consult a paediatrician at the first sign of illness.
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