The winter season is here, which also means that the season of viruses has begun. You probably only have one thought in mind when you become a parent: how can you keep your baby safe and healthy? There is nothing more devastating to a parent than to see their child in pain, ill, or uncomfortable. Therefore, you probably agree that it’s best to be as well-prepared as possible in case your child gets sick.
Keeping your baby from getting a cold/flu
- Wash your hands – Studies have shown that 80% of all infectious diseases are transmitted through our hands. Make sure you and everyone else who comes in contact with your baby washes their hands properly.
- Stay away from sick people – That goes without saying. When grandma, the babysitter, or your best friend hasn’t been feeling well, ask them to stay at home or avoid your child until they are well again.
- Avoid public places – Infants and newborns do not have fully developed immune systems and are more prone to common infections. In order to keep your baby healthy, do whatever you can to keep her/him from getting exposed to these germs.
- Breastfeeding – In the first year of life, breastfeeding is the best way to prevent your baby from catching a cold. When you breastfeed, you pass on antibodies that protect your body from the viruses that cause colds, and the antibodies also protect your child. If you can’t or choose not to breastfeed, or want to breastfeed and use formula at the same time, make sure you settle only for the very best.
A baby will begin to show signs of a cold about one to three days after being infected. Early symptoms include:
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Sleeping problems
- Reduced appetite
Colds do not require treatment. The symptoms usually resolve on their own after a few days.
Naturally, you’ll wish to ease your baby’s symptoms. Infants and toddlers, however, should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold drugs. These products don’t work well in children under the age of six, and they can have significant side effects. Your best bet would be to make sure your baby is getting enough micro- and macro nutrients, vitamins and minerals – whether it is from your healthy diet and brestfeeding or choosing a high quality baby formula.
Allow your child to get plenty of rest and try one of these home treatments to help them feel better:
- Extra fluids – It is important to drink liquids to prevent dehydration. Formula or breast milk is the best option. If your baby is over 6 months old, you also can give water and 100% fruit juice.
- Humidifier – Cool-mist humidifiers add moisture to the air and keep your baby’s nose from drying out. Rinse your humidifier every time you use it to eliminate bacteria and mould.
- Nose suction – The rubber-bulb syringe will help keep your baby’s nasal passages clear. Place the bulb into your child’s nostril and squeeze it. Remove mucus by gently pushing the bulb. After each use, wash the tip of the syringe with soap and water.
Being sick is nothing abnormal for anyone, especially a baby who is growing in an environment where germs are everywhere.
Colds aren’t life-threatening, but they can develop into more severe illnesses. When your baby has a cold and is younger than 2 or 3 months old, it’s important to see a pediatrician – especially if he or she has a high fever or other symptoms.
Helping a child feel comfortable as they fight off the cold is the best thing a parent or caregiver can do.