Colds in babies

It does indeed bother adults, but it’s nothing serious and it’s gone after a while. But it can be a serious problem for a baby. We are talking about the common cold, in which the folk saying states that if untreated it lasts for seven days, if treated, for a week.


So how is it for our little ones, should we treat them or not? And should we go to the doctor’s with a “common” cold? To begin with, it’s a good idea to clarify one thing. In essence, there is no cure for the common cold. But we can use various measures to help make the patient feel better.

What is the difference between a cold in adults and infants?

Compared to adults, the biggest problem in babies is their upper respiratory tract is 3x narrower, which makes it difficult for them to breathe. In addition, the baby’s mucous membranes are more prone to swelling. Due to the special anatomy of the larynx, infants cannot breathe through their mouths until they are at least three months old.

If it can’t breathe through its nose, the baby could start to suffocate, it may stop breathing and a “Common” cold may cause apnea,” says paediatrician Dr. Lucie Skalova.

What helps your baby

During a cold, sucking off the mucous with a special aspirator designed for babies helps significantly. “The most efficient is an aspirator for a vacuum cleaner. It has a special attachment that you place at the end of the nasal entrance. First to one nostril and then to the other. You don’t have to worry about hurting your baby, the attachment won't let you go deeper into the nasal entrance, it really is just on the edge. There are also other types of nasal aspirators, where suction is generated with the mouth, but they are not as powerful. In addition, the aspirator for the vacuum cleaner is fast, so it takes less time,” adds Dr. Skalova.

It is good to use a solution of seawater or Vincentka in the form of a nasal spray to moisten the mucosa (also good just before aspiration). You can get both at the pharmacy. If the cold persists, seawater can also be combined with nasal drops - e.g. Nasivin with a lower concentration than for an adult.

It will also help the baby to raise the legs of the cot so that the baby sleeps on a sloping surface with its head raised. It will also breathe better if the air in the room where it rests is humidified. To moisten the air simply drape an ordinary nappy or towel that has been dampened with water over the radiator or on the side of the cot.

What not to forget

Due to the difficulty of breathing and the fact that the baby cannot breathe through its mouth, the baby may suffer from lack of appetite or fail to drink enough whilst breastfeeding. Therefore, pay attention to how much milk or other fluids your baby drinks. If the baby has less than four wet nappies in a day, is sleepy and apathetic, and has dry skin, go and see the doctor quickly. Dehydration is very dangerous in babies.

When to take baby to the doctor

You can do no wrong if you consult a paediatrician about your baby if its under three months and has a cold. If the baby is older, go to the doctor if the mucous turns green or yellow and if you suspect other complications. If that’s the case, home treatment will no longer be enough.

If the rhinitis is of bacterial origin, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics in the form of nasal drops and treat the other symptoms of the disease if there is secondary infection. During complications such as inflammation of the middle ear or paranasal sinuses, your paediatrician will send you to an ENT expert (otorhinolaryngology - ear, nose and throat).

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