How to Take Care of a 3-Month-Old Baby with a Cold: Proper Guide for Parenting

by Johnny Jacks
The newborn stage from 0 to 6 months old is a critical period where infants require meticulous care because their immune system and resistance are still weak. So, what should you do if a 3-month-old baby catches a cold? Let’s explore the symptoms and care for a baby with a cold in the following article with Monkey.

Symptoms of a 3-month-old baby with a cold

The common cold is diagnosed by experts as an acute infectious disease caused by cold viruses. Currently, three types of cold viruses that affect humans have been identified.

The common cold typically occurs when viruses or bacteria invade the respiratory tract in the nose and throat of the infant. In addition, the baby’s immune system is relatively weak, making it susceptible to direct transmission from virus-laden droplets in the air.

The normal signs in a 3-month-old infant with a cold.

Usually, the incubation period in infants is from 1-2 days after exposure to the pathogenic agents, with symptoms appearing 5-7 days afterward. Below are the symptoms of a 3-month-old baby with a cold:

Typical symptoms usually appear 1-2 days after incubation in newborns, and parents may notice the following signs:

  • Stuffy nose: The viruses causing colds invade the respiratory tract in the nose and throat.
  • Mild fever of around 38 degrees Celsius: Fever is the initial symptom when babies catch a cold.
  • Sore throat and continuous coughing.
  • Frequent sneezing and runny nose.
  • Poor or no appetite for breastfeeding.
  • High fever above 38 degrees Celsius.
  • Red rash or a few areas of the body covered with red bumps.
  • Severe dehydration.
  • Sudden fatigue or excessive exhaustion.

Signs of danger in a 3-month-old infant with flu

In many cases, infants may exhibit rare symptoms when infected with the flu virus. Parents should not ignore the following symptoms when their 3-month-old baby has the flu:

Fever of 38.5 degrees Celsius or higher: When the baby has a fever of 38.5 degrees Celsius or higher, parents need to take the baby to the hospital for timely treatment.

The baby feels difficulty breathing or breathes rapidly.

Severe and persistent vomiting, accompanied by prolonged diarrhea.

Reddish or purplish rash on the skin, face, hands, feet, or throughout the body.

The baby’s fingers, toes, or lips turn bluish or pale.

The baby scratches its ears or rubs its head, indicating discomfort or pain in certain areas of the body.

Phlegm in the baby’s throat turns blue or contains blood.

Possible complications that may occur when a 3-month-old infant has the flu.

Complications that can occur when a 3-month-old baby has the flu include acute respiratory infections such as pharyngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia if not treated properly and promptly.

The flu virus can also cause other infections such as middle ear infection, myocarditis, and pericarditis.

Complications of the flu can have a negative impact on the nervous system, such as meningitis, encephalitis, hemiplegia, and even brain damage.

The most dangerous complication of the flu is Reye’s syndrome (swelling of the liver and brain). This is the rarest disease when a newborn is not treated properly for the flu. However, the mortality rate of this syndrome is very high.

Children may develop asthma after the flu if not promptly treated. Alternatively, if a child has congenital asthma and is accompanied by the flu, their condition can become more serious.

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What should you do if a 3-month-old baby has the flu?

If a 3-month-old baby has the flu, what are the treatment options? How should you care for the baby? Parents should equip themselves with knowledge to be able to identify flu-like symptoms and take timely action to avoid endangering the baby’s life. Let’s find out more details below:

Ensure adequate hydration

When a baby has the flu, symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing can cause the body to lose water quickly. The body cannot replenish water fast enough to supply the baby’s processes, making the baby tired and uncomfortable when having the flu.

Therefore, providing adequate hydration is essential when a baby has the flu. For a 3-month-old baby, the mother can supplement water with breast milk. Breast milk contains both water and all the necessary nutrients to provide energy for the baby.

Moreover, breast milk provides enough energy and immune system support to help the baby develop immunity to other flu viruses. Mothers should not give their baby water to provide immediate hydration because the baby’s digestive system is still too weak. Giving the baby water can cause digestive problems and worsen the baby’s flu symptoms.

Moisten the air around the baby

The characteristic symptom when a baby has the flu is a runny nose, with mucus secretions protecting the baby’s nasal cavity, but they make it difficult for the baby to breathe. Humid air will help loosen the mucus and make it easier for the baby to breathe.

Parents can use a humidifier to create humidity in the baby’s room. Parents can also regularly check the humidity inside the room by looking for signs of moisture on surfaces and objects. The humidity in the room should not be too high or too low.

In addition, it is essential to regularly check and clean the humidifier to prevent it from causing mold and harmful toxins that can harm the baby.

Cleaning the nasal and throat cavities of infants

Cleaning the nasal and throat cavities can prevent discomfort and accumulation of mucus in the nose or phlegm in the throat of a 3-month-old infant. Parents can use a medical suction device to clean the nasal cavity. Here are some effective ways to use the medical suction device:

Prepare a medical suction device, sterilize it before use, or store it carefully to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering.

Suck out all the air inside the suction tube. Slowly insert the tip of the tube into the infant’s nose, about 0.5 cm inside the nostril.

Next, slowly suction the mucus from inside the nose out gently. Note that you should do this slowly to avoid scratching or injuring the infant’s nasal cavity.

Finally, use a soft cloth soaked in warm water or physiological saline to clean the outside of the nose.

Note: Do not use the suction device in the nose too many times as it can cause irritation to the nasal mucosa. This can worsen the cold and especially the infant may develop complications of nasal inflammation.

Ginger water for bathing can help treat colds in children

Fresh ginger is very effective in treating colds, so parents can use ginger water to treat colds in children as young as 3 months old. Ginger has a spicy and warm nature, and when it enters the body, it warms up the organs, expands blood vessels, stimulates sweat secretion, and effectively treats colds.

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You can use freshly grated ginger and put it in boiling water to steep for about 2-3 minutes. Then mix the ginger water into warm water to prepare for the child’s bath. You can slowly rub the ginger water all over the child’s body so that the ginger can slowly penetrate the body to treat the cold.

Note: When bathing the child, parents should use warm water, not too hot or too cold, which can make the condition worse. In particular, bathe the child in a closed room and quickly dry the child after bathing.

Temporary fever reduction for 3-month-old infants

Normally, 3-month-old infants have a fever of about 38 degrees Celsius, and parents need to temporarily reduce the fever at home. Loosen the child’s clothing and use a warm cloth to apply to the child’s forehead or armpit.

Usually, the appropriate temperature for applying warm cloth to the child is determined by parents using a thermometer dipped in water. If the water temperature in the bowl feels warm, it is suitable for applying warm cloth to the child.

It is important to take the child to a medical facility when necessary.

During the process of caring for and treating a 3-month-old child with the flu, there may be cases where parents are not able to self-treat and need to take their child to the nearest medical facility for timely treatment. For children aged 3 months, the flu is dangerous when the following symptoms appear:

  • High fever above 38.5 degrees Celsius and continuous fever for 3 days.
  • Frequent seizures and fatigue.
  • Difficulty breathing and rapid breathing.
  • The child is fatigued, has poor appetite, vomits frequently, and refuses to breastfeed.
  • Cold extremities, with fingers and toes turning blue or pale.

Note when taking care of a 3-year-old child with flu

Parents should also note the following issues to better care for and treat flu for a 3-month-old child. This also helps the child avoid dangerous complications that the flu can bring:

  • Do not use fever-reducing or antibiotics for a 3-month-old child with flu.
  • Do not use honey in folk remedies for treating flu in infants.
  • Do not rub essential oils on the child’s body to treat flu. Essential oils contain compounds that can be toxic to infants.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect the child’s items and surfaces that the child often comes into contact with to prevent the flu virus from entering the child’s body.
  • Before coming into contact with the child, parents and adults need to disinfect and wash their hands. In case of people with flu, they should not come into contact with infants.
  • Create a clean and airy environment to help the treatment of flu for infants better, helping them recover faster.
  • Always monitor the child’s health status, and if the child has any unusual symptoms, promptly take the child to the nearest hospital or healthcare facility for diagnosis and treatment.

How to prevent the risk of flu in a 3-month-old baby?

Flu can occur in people of all ages, especially in newborns and the elderly. However, parents can also take measures to prevent the flu in a 3-month-old baby. Here are some safe and effective preventive measures recommended by health experts:

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Get a flu vaccine for the mother

The flu vaccine is a highly effective measure in preventing the spread of flu virus in the community. A 3-month-old baby is not eligible or necessary for flu vaccination. If the mother receives a flu vaccine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, it can also partially protect the baby from flu virus entering their body.

The vaccine will stimulate the mother’s body to produce antibodies, and breast milk also contains these antibodies. Breast milk contains immune-boosting properties and nutrients that the baby can absorb directly, providing the baby with additional immune protection against flu virus.

Limit exposure of a 3-month-old baby to sick people or those suspected of having the flu

People who are sick or suspected of having the flu should not come into contact with a 3-month-old baby. Because the baby’s immune system is not fully developed and they have not yet received a flu vaccine, the virus can easily enter the baby’s body.

When the mother has the flu, she also needs to take appropriate measures to prevent the baby from getting infected. Breast milk cannot transmit flu, so the baby still needs to be provided with sufficient breast milk. Here are some methods to help the mother reduce the risk of transmitting the flu to the baby:

Good hygiene and healthy habits for the family

Not only do we need to prevent illness in children, but we also need to take steps to prevent the spread of illness within the family. Here are some things that family members can do to reduce the risk of infection for infants under 3 months old:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before eating, preparing food, and after using the restroom. Use soap and warm water to wash hands for the infant. Hand sanitizer can also be used if soap is not available.
  • Clean the home regularly to prevent mold and create an environment that is less hospitable to viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses like the common cold.
  • Avoid contact with people who have colds or other illnesses.
  • Schedule regular check-ups for the infant and the family to monitor health and detect any signs of illness.
  • Vaccinate the infant against the flu when they are 6 months old and make sure they receive all recommended doses.

In addition to these hygiene practices, it is important to establish a healthy diet for the infant from an early age. This will help the infant develop a strong immune system that can fight off illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria.

These tips can help parents and family members take care of infants who have colds and prevent the spread of illness within the family. Don’t forget to follow and subscribe to Monkey for regular updates on parenting and child-rearing tips.

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