Baby winter colds and sniffles

How to spot the early signs of a baby cold and expert ways to avoid it spreading

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If it’s starting to feel as though your baby has had a constant cold ever since winter began – you are not alone.

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The average child catches between 7 and 10 colds a year. With most concentrated into the winter months, that makes for a lot of sniffles at this time of year.

It’s horrid when your tiny baby is snuffling away and there’s little you can do about it.

In fact, almost 50% of parents worry so much about their children’s health during the winter that they end up suffering from stress themselves.

GP and family health expert Dr Rob Hicks says, “Parents can take the stress and worry out of winter by learning how to spot the early signs of illness such as a rise in temperature, and how to start treating the signs of illness straight away.”

Early signs that your child may be sickening for something include restlessness and a raised temperature. You may also find your child is subdued or quieter than usual.

Dr Hicks recommends treating a raised temperature as follows:

1 Cool the room by opening a window, turning down the heating or putting an electric fan in the room.

2 Strip your hot children down to their underwear or vest and nappy.

3 Give children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4 Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids.

5 Trust your instincts. Contact your GP if you are worried, if a fever lasts for more than two days or if your child’s temperature rises above 40C.

How do you reduce the chance of all your family getting the cold?

It’s so easy for colds to spread to you and other children.

Dr Dawn Harper, family GP and mum of three, offers her own tips to reduce viruses going round the family:

1 Throw used tissues in the bin as soon as possible and then wash your hands

2 Encourage your child to use a tissue whenever they can

3 Again, open windows to increase ventilation and lower humidity (thus reducing the risk of airborne viruses)

4 Wipe areas where germs can lurk, such as door knobs, telephones, light switches and counter tops

5 Look at using anti-viral tissues

6 Get a good night’s sleep to keep you healthy

7 Do regular exercise to boost your immune system, especially outdoors

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8 Eat a balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of fruit and veg to give your immune system a boost.

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