Cold + Flu
All you need to know about cold and flu in babies!
Winter has come, which means that cold and flu season is upon us. A change in weather coupled together with a new virus attack can make matters worse in most households.
If you have a baby below one year of age, this is a time of anxiety. Though babies acquire natural immunity through mother’s breastmilk, there are times when they contract a cold or the flu. Studies have shown that babies get six to eight cold attacks before their first birthday. Thus, protecting the whole family, especially the younger ones from cold and flu is crucial.
What is a cold and the flu?
A cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract that includes the nose, throat, sinus, and larynx. The primary symptoms of a cold include a runny nose, a blocked nose, scratchy throat, coughing and sneezing.
Flu or influenza, on the other hand, is a condition caused by a virus called the influenza virus. The leading symptoms of flu include high temperature, runny nose, sore throat, body pain, and tiredness.
How do babies get colds and flu?
Babies usually have had little to no contact with cold and flu viruses, therefore they have less resistance to infection. This is why babies and young children catch colds and flu much easier than adults.
Babies usually get flu and colds when they come in direct contact with a person who is infested with the virus. Similarly, if they touch infested surfaces like the clothes used by an infected person the chances of getting a cold or flu is high.
How to detect cold and flu?
The best way to detect cold and flu is through its symptoms as listed above.
If you feel that the baby’s temperature is high, you can use a baby thermometer to determine if they have a fever, which can indicate the flu and help you know if they need medical attention.
Different types of baby thermometers like a rectal thermometer, infrared Digital Ear thermometer, and other digital solutions are available in the market for babies. Of these different types, the award winning 4 in 1 infrared digital ear and forehead thermometer V2 is a great choice. This baby thermometer is easy to use and can read the temperature of a baby in a matter of seconds.
It is lightweight and compact, and hence you can carry it with you even while travelling. The thermometer functions with one-touch operation and automatically shuts off after 30 seconds. Thus, you need not have to worry about battery wastage. In addition to this, the thermometer can read up to 32 previous temperature recordings for your easy reference.
How do I prevent my baby from getting a cold or the flu?
- Wash your hands:Washing your hands regularly and keeping it clean prevents the flu and cold virus from spreading infection. Make sure that you and all family members wash hand regularly. Washing hands should be made compulsory before and after taking meals, after sneezing and coughing and as soon as you come home from work or school. If you are travelling or do not have access to hand wash, you can use a hand sanitizer instead.
- Disinfect surfaces: If there is a sick person in the house, the chances are high that all surfaces that he/she touches will be infested. Thus, disinfect all surfaces especially the kitchen counter, dining table, laptop and any other common areas with a disinfectant. You can use a solution made of white vinegar and water for cleaning surfaces. You can also sterilise all the glasses with Microwave Steam Sterilisers.
- Avoid exposure:: Do not take the baby to crowded and congested places like malls, multiplex or shopping centres during flu season. Similarly, try not to invite family or friends to your house for party or sleepover at least till the flu season is over.
How do I treat my baby’s cold/flu?
There is no cure for colds or flu, they simply must run their course which can take up to 10 days.
However the symptoms can be treated at home, and you can make baby as comfortable as possible:
- Extra sleep and cuddles
- Smaller, more frequent feeds
- Once a runny nose starts, put a vaporizer or cool mist humidifier in the baby’s room to unplug his nasal massage.
- Put few drops of saline nasal drops to open up the nose. This sometimes makes the baby sneeze which again helps in opening up the blocked nose.
- Provide the baby lot of fluids and continue breastfeeding.
- Babies can be given liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen and some other medicines, make sure you read the label or check with your GP, nurse or pharmacist if you are unsure
If unusual symptoms occur or if you are worried, seek medical advice.
Seek urgent medical advice if your baby or young child has:
- a persistent cough
- periods of breathlessness or difficulty breathing
- a high fever (see a doctor straight away for any fever in a baby less than 3 months)
- a bad cough
- bluish or very pale skin
- inability or unwillingness to feed
- drowsiness in your baby
- isn’t drinking
- is vomiting a lot
- has a bad headache
- is pale and sleepy
- has a rash that doesn’t disappear if you hold a glass against it.
For further information you can visit Raising Children
Source: Pregnancy Birthday
Cold and flu is not a matter of concern as it will subside in few days’ time. But dealing with a sick child can be a difficult task for most parents. Remember that patience is the key while handling a sick child.