My baby has a cold, now what?

When your baby or young toddler comes down with his/her first cold of the season or catches the flu, it can take up to two weeks for him/her to feel better. The common cold and influenza are caused by viruses, which can't be defeated with antibiotics. Here are some ways to make your child more comfortable at home once he/she has seen the pediatrician and been diagnosed with a cold or flu virus.

Make sure your baby gets plenty of fluids and rest. If you are breastfeeding, don't stop just because he/she is sick. If you baby has trouble nursing because of excessive mucus in their nose, ask the pediatrician to tell you how to clear their nose with an OTC saline solution and bulb syringe.

Use a cool mist humidifier in your baby's room. Change the water every day and clean it as directed by the manufacturer.

Read the home care instructions you received from the pediatrician and keep an eye on your baby, so you will know if he/she needs to be seen by the doctor again or taken to the Emergency Room.

According to the FDA, children under age 4, should not be given over the counter cold medicines. However, if you need to use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce your child's fever, call the doctor to ask for the correct dosage.

If your baby has trouble sleeping, let the doctor know, and ask if you can raise the head of your baby's bed slightly by putting a book under the crib mattress.

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