Treating Baby's Cold or Flu at Home Safelyby Katlyn Joy | July 11, 2012 12:00 AM
When your baby is sick, you want to be sure to do the rights things and of course, you really just want your little one to feel as comfortable as possible.
Remember, colds and flus are viruses and as such, you cannot cure them but only treat them. Most major cold remedies have been removed from the market over the past few years, so treating colds is all about safe home remedies. Flus can be more serious and require hospitalization on occasion so knowing when to treat at home and when to seek medical attention is key.
When to Call the Doctor or Get to the ER
- Fever: If your baby is 3 months or younger and has a temp over 100.4, or if baby is between 3 and 6 months and has a temp over 101 degrees, or if over 6 months and has a temp of 103 or above.
- Severe vomiting: This means the vomiting has continued over a 24 hour period, is especially high in volume or frequency.
- Dehydrated: If baby has no tears when crying, the soft spot seems sunken in, has markedly fewer wet diapers and seems to keep nothing done.
- Demeanor: If baby is screaming or inconsolable, or is at the opposite end of the spectrum lethargic and unlike him or herself.
- Darkened Stool or Vomit: If baby has blood in vomit or feces, looking dark or coffee ground-like.
When You Are Treating At Home
- For babies with diarrhea, continue nursing or feeding bottles. For older babies, bland food may be offered in small quantities but frequently as it is tolerated. Rehydrating drinks or popsicles may be offered as well.
- Help babies breath better through a cold by using saline nose drops to clear the nasal passages. This is not a medication and can be used as often as needed. Use a suction bulb to gently suck out the thickened mucus.
- Make certain to place the bulb just inside the nose and point the bulb towards the center of the nose and not towards the back.
- Run a cool mist vaporizer to keep the air moist and hydrate nasal passages. This can help with both nasal congestion and coughing.
- Try a warm bath to help baby feel better. The warm water may ease fever symptoms and help breathing.
- Apply a dab of petroleum jelly to the base of the nose to help lubricate a sore area and keep the nose from getting dried out.
- Do not give a baby aspirin as it may cause Reye's Syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.
- Do not give children under two a prepared cold medication as they have been deemed unsafe for such young children and possibly may not even be effective on such youngsters.
- Pat baby's back gently during the throes of coughing to help loosen phlegm in the lungs. You may do this by putting baby on your shoulder, across your knees or by sitting her at a thirty degree angle on your lap.
- Sit in a steamy bathroom with the hot shower water running to help baby breathe easier or curb a hacking cough. Stay in the steamy surroundings for about a half hour, and then change baby in to dry clean clothes and make sure baby doesn't become chilled.
- Sometimes a ride in the car in the night air can relax a baby and help with the needed moisture in the air.
- Be careful with dosing children's Tylenol or ibuprofen. It is both easy to do and dangerous. Check the correct amount for your child's age and size with your child's doctor.
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