Of Common Cold And The Baby

Babies fall sick more often than not. Blessed are the parents who say their babies never fall prey to the common sniffles and colds. Touch wood.

Of Common Cold And The Baby

As new parents, initially it used to break us down to see even 99 degrees on the Ticki-Ticki (That’s what we call our digital thermometer). We used to stop everything and visit the Paediatrician immediately even when the baby coughed a bit. The said Paediatrician never sent us back without prescribing some or the other medicine.

But then in a few months on, I started thinking if those medicines were really necessary. Mostly the diagnosis was always a common cold. Are there any medicines in the world to cure this? Virus cannot be killed with antibiotics. That’s common sense. Antibiotics are two-headed. They can kill the bad guys but also a few good men are also sacrificed. So it worries me if too many antibiotics could hamper the immune system.

So I decided no more cough syrups or cold medicines for the baby. No more Sinarest or T Minic drops, sir. A research suggests that no child under two year should be given any cold medicines, at all.

If we see, common medicines like Sinarest or T Minic drops only reduce the symptoms of a cold. So basically what they do is help the parents rather than the child as the child is still internally fighting the cold. It’s referred to as a Parental Placebo Effect!

Fever is something that might need medicines. But again now as I look at it, fever is good. It is an indication that the baby’s immune system is fighting against the infections and winning 🙂 We hardly think of fever this way. It is really difficult though, when we see an infant suffer.

Also what is temperature at which we should consider medicines? What is the normal range? Or till what temperature can medicines be avoided. Well, I have fought tooth and nail with my overprotective husband over this. For him a 0.1 degree over 98.4 is a fever. I say 99 can be dealt with without medicines. Most suggest that a temperature below 100.4 degrees is no reason to panic for babies over 3 months.

A mantra that I liked about colds is “Feed the cold Fluids like it is going out of fashion”. It can be breast milk, formula or plain water or diluted juices according to age. More the infant drinks the faster the infection will go away.

If a fever persists for more than 2 hours, a fever reducer like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen can be used. Again I am wary of Paracetamol for babies. (Very commonly used in India). Actually it is suggested that any fever below 102 degrees doesn’t need fever reducers. But I have panicked at 101 degrees. It is difficult.

Home remedies like steam inhalation, honey, warm milk with turmeric and a tiny bit of pepper are natural and very effective to reduce symptoms like congestion. Keeping the room humid in dry weather conditions helps a lot. The best remedy of course is a lot of snuggling and loving. Nothing beats that.

I am not a doctor. Nowhere near to be or suggesting to be one. Nor I am being a hypochondriac by doing a diagnosis on my own for my baby. I just simply follow a few directives to avoid over medicating my child’s body. Sadly, I don’t trust my paediatricians to do that for me.  Right now, I have a paediatrician who is not too anti-biotic-happy but does prescribe cough syrups.  But it is easy to skip the cough syrup part of the prescription and replace it with some homemade remedies. So I am sticking with him.

Obviously, all my theories would stop if anything more than a cold or fever happens. Then I would be at the mercy of the doctors. Most times, I also go to the doctor to rule out the more serious problems and once he says it’s a common cold, my own home remedies comes into play.

How do you commonly deal with common cold?

An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. 🙂  She loves to dance, dream and read a lot! 

  • Dear Sirisha, this is exactly the predicament I fall in every time the weather changes! My 2 year old starts sneezing and coughing, and after a couple of days of giving him home remedies and waiting for the cold to subside, my resistance falters. I look at the medicine cabinet and ask myself which medicine I should give, maybe the one the pediatrician gave my son last time? But the problem is, my pediatrician gives a different medicine each time, and so I can never be sure that I am giving my kid the correct one. So there’s no option but to take him to her, only to get a new set of medicines prescribed!

    • Hehe the doctors follow the next medical rep who walks in ! Thats also a sad scenario. I keep track of the content rather than the names .. I am too OCDed 😛

  • Hi Sirisha… While one should not go to doctor for every small thing, one has to be careful when dealing with children. Anything that gets worst or persists after 24 hours of observation should be show to a doctor. She may prescribe exactly what the parents thought in most cases, but this will eliminate anything serious.

    • exactly as I said in my last line I do go to the doctors to rule out the serious troubles 🙂 Cant take it too lightly too .

  • Amrita Thavrani

    Whoa ! You are right with ill effects of antibiotics. My daughter was once the victim. We sacrificed few good men. Problem is fever is not a disease, its just a symptom which can of 100s of diseases.

    • 🙂 But its the doctors who should know this.. We are just hapless mothers who get scared too easily too often na!

  • Vrinda

    Hello… From India, we have just shifted to mombasa.. Completely diff atmosphere than Baroda, Gujarat… I have two yr daughter..she catches cold very fast, with high fever… How many days we should wait without medicines… I have brought tminic n sinarest both over here.. N also wikoryl… Can b any precautions to this cough n cold… She has every month once.. N ruins everything… Does any immunity medicines wrk?

  • lovely

    my baby is 2 months old. she has a temperature of 98.3..she is vomitting after having my milk.she is not actve for the last two days. she also has a cough.

    dr,. has advised few medicines lik t-minic and ondem…

    is there any home remedy…?

  • Emmanuel

    Dear Sirisha, your views on antibiotic regimens for minor respiratory ailments concurs with accepted practice guidelines. Children with runny noses and fever often do not need anything at all, except for maybe paracetamol to reduce fever and make the child more comfortable. Most of my colleagues who actually follow what we were taught in med school do not prescribe anything at all. I’m reminded of my mother who used to take me to our pediatrician if i even sniffled- and i remember my mother quoting him “If you keep bringing your son for every sniffle, you pressurize me into prescribing something when all he needs is rest and a good diet” . Years later, now as a doctor, when I see anxious mothers bringing their children with sniffles, i’m reminded of my own childhood and my mother.(who continues to be as paranoid about minor ailments- but consistently neglects herself!) A playful, otherwise active child with a low fever and a runny nose probably doesn’t need anything at all. Antibiotics are indicated only if there is a clear suspicion of bacterial pneumonia( bacterial lung infection). Most mothers will be able to make out between a sick child and a child with just a cold. That said, if it is just a cold, paracetamol if there is fever, and saline nasal drops if there’s a blocked nose is often enough, plus a warm loving doting mother. Most of my colds as a child got treated that way. 🙂

  • tiger

    Acetaminophen (USA) and Paracetamol ( Europe and several former British colonies)are names for the same molecule. So please refrain from being “wary of Paracetamol for babies. (Very commonly used in India)”

  • Nandini Dubey

    Hi can you please tell me what can I give to my 2 months old daughter. She is having extreme stuffy nose. Not able to breathe through nose she’s breathing through mouth. While feeding also she is facing same problem. Doctor has advised me say line drops I’ve been doing that from the last three days but did not see any change so I just gave five drops of t-mimic is that okay or I should stop it