Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Colds 101

I never thought there would be too much science behind a simple cold (sipon) until my Rocco had one. Poor little Rocco suddenly experienced runny nose last week. I was too agitated because I didn't know what to do! Babies cannot expel the mucus clogging their nose. They do not even know how to breathe properly through their mouth. I remember my Ate Dynah said that when Zac, my nephew, had a cold when he was still a baby, his Daddy sucked all the mucus from Zac's nose by using his own mouth because nothing else worked. I was prepared to do that, if all else failed.

But Rocco stayed true to his "cool baby" vibe. Grabe!! Despite his runny nose and watery eyes, he was still laughing and perky. If it were other babies, they would surely have a bitchy baby fist and cry and be cranky all day. But Rocco still slept and fed well. He got cranky a bit while trying to sleep because of his nose, but still, he didn't want to be carried too much.

Of course, I didn't rely on his cool baby vibe. I researched and asked experts on how to handle baby colds. Mind you, I've learned a lot:
1. Babies are usually not given meds if it's just a simple cold. This is to help their immune system build antibodies to fight off the virus. Of course, do this with extreme caution. If you feel that your baby is exhibiting signs which maybe more than a simple cold, do not hesitate to call your pedia and ask for intervention.
2. As long as there is no fever, the baby is OK. So it's a must to monitor temp regularly. I did this hourly.
3. If the baby keeps on tugging his ear, it could be a sign of an ear infection. Thank God Rocco did not have this.
4. I thought a cold can also be air-borne, but I was told it's only passed through hand contact. I'm not sure how true this is.
5. Babies do not know how to expel the mucus clogging their nose. The best that they can do is sneeze.

To bring some relief to our babies who are down with colds, the following are a must:
1. Aspirator. We got ours from Rocco's hospital kit when he was still a newborn. The aspirator vacuums out the liquified mucus to help give the baby more breathing room. I was too scared to try this on Rocco because he kept resisting, so hubby did the aspiration. We had a few misses before we were able to suck out the mucus. But mommies and daddies out there, be careful when using this. Never poke too far on the nostril. Someone must hold the baby when being aspirated because a wiggly baby could bring more danger to the nose than the much needed relief. Also, aspirators must be used with caution because there are studies which suggest that frequent aspiration may lead to underdeveloped sense of smell.

2. Thermometer. This gadget is a must for mommies. A baby's temperature is an important indicator of his well-being. Any sign of fever must be reported to your doctor. I highly recommend a digital ear thermometer because it yields a more accurate result. We use Braun.

3. Vaporizer/Steamer. I remember when we were young and nursing a cold, Mama would let us face a "takore" with the long nose, then inhale the steam coming from the boiling water. Now, there's this thing called vaporizer, and it makes life easier. Ate Dynah recommended Vicks, but told me to use the Rhea inhalant to mix in the water, because it produces a minty vapor smell, which is more appealing to babies. This one is hard to find in pharmacies, and is usually sold online.

4. Nasal drops for babies. I recommend Salinase or Nasoclear. There is the spray version, but I'm not sure if this is good for infants because the impact of the spray might be too strong for their fragile noses. Nasal drops or sprays help liquify mucus that has thickened up in the nostrils, making it hard for babies to breathe.

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