Winter is the prime time for illness as people spend more time in home with the closed windows, which allows bacteria and viruses to spread more simply. In fact, it is nearly unavoidable that your kid would get sick in the next couple weeks - most babies have between 6 and 5 viral infections only during the first year.


In this article, we will show you how to ward off several of the nasty bugs, alleviate the severity once the germ takes hold, and help your little child feel comfortable.

Flu and cold

Since influenza and colds are both viral infections in the respiration, you might usually not be able to know the difference.


  • Symptoms of the common cold include: decreased appetite, a sore throat (baby sounding hoarse), a runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and fussiness, cough and mild fever. In general, baby will improve from 1 to 2 weeks.
  • The characteristics of a flu include: crankiness, vomiting, dry cough and high fever. Most signs will become calmer after 5 days, but a general weakness and lingering cough would persist for nearly 1 or 2 weeks.

For 3-month or younger babies, call a doctor immediately if they have a fever over 100.4 ℉. For an older kind, see the doctor if the flu or cold persists longer than one week or his symptoms worsen (for example, the temperature goes up).


  • Do not expect your baby to be prescribed antibiotic: Flue and cold are not bacterial infections, so it will have no effect. However, a common cold sometimes could cause a secondary infection in the baby's lungs (pneumonia, bronchitis), sinuses (sinusitis) or ear, which does need the taking of antibiotic.
  • Keep the air flowing: A saline nasal spray could help to flush out the stuffy noses of your child, or you could try the nasal aspirator to remove the mucus.
  • Mist the nursery: You could use a cool-mist vaporizer at night or during nap to loosen the mucus and open up the breathing passages of your kid, which makes it simpler for him to cough out.

Ear infection

Toddlers and infants are susceptible to otitis media (or ear infection) as their Eustachian tube, which connects the throat and middle ear, is straight, wide, and short. As a result, it allows mucus and some secretions to move easily from their throat to the ear once suffering a cold.

In acute otitis media (or AOM), the infected fluid will press against the eardrum of your kid and cause pain. In general, 3 out of 4 infants would suffer from ear infection during their first year. Here is when to notice that your kid has an infected ear:


  • Worsening and persistent cold symptoms.
  • Waking at night frequently because fluid could press on his eardrum when your baby is lying down.
  • Having a poor appetite and being irritable or cranky.
  • Having a fever. (however, not all kids do)
  • Pulling on the ear. If all of the above signs are also present, then this is another symptom that your baby’s ear is hurting.


  • In this situation, see the doctor as your child might need medicine.
  • Use a warm towel to soothe the infected ear.
  • Give your baby pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (as directed by the pediatrician) in the first or two days until the fever gets calmer.


This is a viral infection which leads to the swelling of trachea (windpipe) and vocal cords. In general, it will cause barking cough sounding like the seal. If your baby suffers from a croup but is still playful and happy, or has no difficulty sleeping or breathing, it is unlikely his case is severe.


  • Stridor: The breathing of your baby is noisy and labored, perhaps sounding like a rough whistle. This symptom is especially common when a baby is active or crying with mild croup, but if it happens while he is resting, the case is more severe.
  • Anxiousness: Your baby seems panicky or restless.
  • Lack of breath: If the baby could not cry or speak, immediately get him to the hospital.


  • Take your baby to the bathroom, then turn on hot water in the shower, and shut all windows and doors (humid air would help to relax his breathing passages).
  • Calm him down as anxiety would make the croup worse. You could try nursing, singing softly or reading a fairy tale help him relax.
  • One of the most effective cures for croup is probably sleep.
  • The doctor might prescribe steroid in serious situation to open your baby’s airways.

Respiratory syncytial virus

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a really common problem. In general, most kids will suffer from this problem during their first two years. However, for several healthy children, particularly for at-risk babies (those with compromised breathing already, including preemies and kids with immune, lung or heart issues), RSV could warrant hospitalization.


  • Having a bad cold with low-grade fever, mild cough, mild headache, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose.
  • Progressing cold with labored breathing, wheezing or repeated coughing.


  • In most cases with mild RSV, you could treat your baby as if she catch a cold. In a more serious situation, she might need oxygen therapy.
  • If you have an at-risk or preemie baby, ask the doctor about Synagis, which is an expensive, but preventive and effective antibody injection, to help reduce the risk of hospitalization about 55 per cent.

Nancy D. Richardson

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