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Can a Newborn Get a Cold?

by
author image Danielle Hill
Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to "Globe Pequot" Barcelona travel guide, "Gulfshore Business Magazine," "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico" and "The Barcelona Review." She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.
Can a Newborn Get a Cold?
Symptoms of the common cold may include irritability and ear pain. Photo Credit FamVeld/iStock/Getty Images

Newborn babies can contract viral infections including the common cold. Indeed, babies are typically more susceptible to catching a cold than children or adults, as their immune systems are not as developed. If you notice any cold symptoms in your infant, consult his pediatrician. While you may not have any reason for concern, younger babies are more susceptible to croup or pneumonia.

How to Identify a Cold

It's possible that your newborn has contracted the common cold if you notice a runny nose with clear or yellow-green discharge. Often the mucus begins clear then becomes darker with time. A fever of just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit can also indicate a common cold, as can symptoms such as sneezing and coughing. If your baby seems irritable, lacks an appetite or has trouble falling asleep, all of these tendencies may confirm the common cold.

When To Call the Doctor

If you believe your newborn has contracted a cold, it's best to err on the side of caution and call your doctor sooner rather than later. For babies under 3 months of age, call the doctor if diaper wetting stops or slows, if you notice redness around the eyes or yellow eye discharge, if coughing persists for several days, if green nasal discharge continues for more than a week or if your baby's temperature exceeds 102 F, MayoClinic.com instructs. If you notice a marked change in appetite or mood, ear trouble or any changes in skin color, call a doctor right away.

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Preventative Measures

To keep your baby healthy, avoid exposure to anyone who's sick, particularly those experiencing the first several days of a cold, when contagion is most likely. Keep away from public transportation or busy public areas whenever possible. Bathe your baby with water and a gentle cleanser and regularly wash your own hands to prevent the spread of germs. Regularly clean baby toys, pacifiers and anything else your baby comes into contact with.

Treatment

Contacting your pediatrician promptly is the best means of effectively treating your infant's cold. Medical treatment may include a recommendation of a prescription cold medication. As babies younger than 3 months typically cannot take common medicines, such as those containing acetaminophen, your doctor will probably recommend a special formula designed for infants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautions parents against using over-the-counter cold medications to children under 2 years of age. Beside medications, you can ease symptoms at home by providing your baby will plentiful fluids and using a rubber syringe to suck mucus from your baby's nasal passages. Have your doctor show you the correct technique. Using a humidifier to moisten the air in the baby's nursery can also relieve congestion. If you do create a more humid environment, change the bed linens more frequently to avoid mold growth.

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