Kids HealthA Newborn Gets A Cold: Symptoms and Measures

A Newborn Gets A Cold: Symptoms and Measures


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Welcoming a newborn into the world is a joyous occasion, but it also comes with its share of worries and challenges, especially when your little one falls ill. One common concern for parents is what to do when their newborn catches a cold. While a cold might seem like a minor inconvenience for adults, it can be more serious for infants, whose immune systems are still developing. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about managing your newborn’s cold, from recognizing the symptoms to seeking medical care and providing comfort during this challenging time.

Understanding the Common Cold in Newborns

The common cold, caused by a viral infection, is one of the most frequent illnesses experienced by people of all ages, including newborns. Newborns are particularly susceptible to colds because their immune systems are not fully developed, making them more vulnerable to infections. The most common viruses responsible for colds in newborns include rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and adenovirus.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of a cold in your newborn is crucial for prompt treatment and ensuring their comfort. While symptoms may vary from one baby to another, common signs of a cold in newborns include:

Congestion: Your baby may have a stuffy or runny nose, making it difficult for them to breathe comfortably.

Coughing: A dry or mucus-producing cough is common with colds.

Sneezing: Frequent sneezing is another hallmark symptom of a cold in newborns.

Fever: While not always present, some newborns may develop a low-grade fever (usually below 100.4°F or 38°C).

Irritability: Your baby may be fussier than usual due to discomfort caused by the cold symptoms.

Decreased Appetite: Cold symptoms can affect your baby’s ability or desire to feed.

Home Remedies and Comfort Measures

While there is no cure for the common cold, there are several home remedies and comfort measures you can use to alleviate your newborn’s symptoms and promote their recovery:

Keep Them Hydrated: Ensure your baby gets plenty of fluids, whether through breastfeeding, formula feeding, or offering small amounts of water if they’re over six months old and showing interest.

Use a Humidifier: Running a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room can help moisten the air, making it easier for them to breathe.

Saline Drops and Bulb Syringe: Saline drops can help loosen mucus in your baby’s nose, making it easier to clear with a bulb syringe. Use saline drops followed by gentle suction before feeding or bedtime.

Elevate Their Head: Propping up your baby’s head slightly during sleep can help ease congestion.

Provide Gentle Nasal Massage: Use gentle circular motions to massage the bridge of your baby’s nose to help relieve congestion.

Offer Comfort Feedings: Holding your baby close and offering comfort feedings can provide them with reassurance and nourishment.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While most colds in newborns are mild and resolve on their own with home care, there are instances where medical attention is warranted. Seek prompt medical care if your newborn:

Has Difficulty Breathing: If your baby is struggling to breathe, with flaring nostrils, chest retractions, or rapid breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

Develops a High Fever: A fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in a newborn under three months old requires immediate medical evaluation.

Shows Signs of Dehydration: If your baby has fewer wet diapers than usual, appears lethargic, or shows signs of dehydration (such as sunken fontanelle), contact your pediatrician.

Exhibits Persistent Symptoms: If your newborn’s cold symptoms persist or worsen after several days, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.

Shows Signs of Ear Infection or Other Complications: If your baby develops symptoms such as ear pulling, ear discharge, or unusual fussiness, they may have developed complications such as an ear infection, requiring medical evaluation.

Preventing the Spread of Illness

Preventing the spread of illness is essential, especially when you have a newborn at home. Take the following precautions to minimize the risk of transmitting cold viruses to your baby:

Practice Good Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before handling your baby or preparing their bottles.

Limit Exposure to Sick Individuals: Avoid exposing your newborn to individuals who are sick, particularly those with cold symptoms.

Cover Your Mouth and Nose: When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.

Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces: Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home, such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops.


Dealing with a cold in a newborn can be stressful for parents, but with proper care and attention, most infants recover without complications. By recognizing the symptoms, providing comfort measures, knowing when to seek medical attention, and taking steps to prevent the spread of illness, you can help your newborn navigate through their cold with minimal discomfort. Remember to trust your instincts as a parent and reach out to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby’s health and well-being. With love, patience, and proper care, your little one will soon be back to their happy, healthy self.


Q1. What happens if a newborn gets too cold?

If a newborn gets too cold, it can lead to hypothermia, where their body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This can result in health complications, including breathing problems and even organ failure.

Q2. Do newborns get cold easily?

Newborns do get cold easily because they have less body fat to insulate them and regulate their temperature compared to adults.

Q3. Will a baby cry if they’re too cold?

Yes, a baby will likely cry if they’re too cold. Crying is one of the ways infants communicate discomfort or distress, including when they’re feeling cold. It’s important to ensure babies are appropriately dressed and kept warm to prevent discomfort and health issues.

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