We’re sick. It’s summer. It sucks.
Other than Thadman’s crazy staph infection at 3 months old where he had to go under in a hospital for surgery (Yes, seriously. See, here he is in his little hospital gown!) and a minor cold over Christmas, he’s had a relatively healthy first 9 months.
Last Monday Mark brought home a nasty little virus that took him out for a week and counting (he’s on the tail end of it now and it involves mega coughing fits). While he’s on the upswing, T-man and I are on the downswing — though thankfully I don’t think it’s hitting us as hard.
Generally, the baby may start coughing or sneezing in the beginning and then will get a fever that will last 3-4 days. The baby is most contagious during the fever phase. Once the fever has passed, it’s just the cough, runny nose and sneezing that you’ll have to deal with. For infants 6 months to a year (which Thad is), a fever over 104.0 deserves a call to the doctor (for more on when to call a doctor, check out the Baby 411 book and app. It’s a great resource overall. However, I have found a few things missing… like using Cortizone 10 for diaper rash, but it’s a great tool nonetheless.). Thad started with 99.0 on Sunday morning and closed the day with 101.3. It’s also good to note that everyone has a lower temperature in the morning to begin with, so don’t be alarmed if your munchkin is hotter at night.
In case you ever get caught with munchkin with a cold, here are some tips to help you weather the storm.
- Rectal Thermometer. I know, it sounds worse than it is. But the second you feel your little pumpkin heating up slap some Vasoline on the thermometer and check her temperature. This is the best and preferred way to report to your doctor. (Oh, and make sure you clean it with alcohol after each use. Figured I didn’t need to call it out, but you never know…)
- Fever Reducer Medicine of Choice. To infants over 6 months of age, you can give either acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). Prior to 6 months of age you can only give your baby acetaminophen. Our preference is for ibuprofen because of this little article in the NYT suggesting a link between asthma and acetaminophen. Our preference is to also only give meds when absolutely needed. If your baby doesn’t have a fever but is simply showing signs of a cold, give your doctor a call and see what they suggest. I generally focus on keeping T-man hydrated and I might even give him some Hyland’s homeopathic meds(for 6 months and over).
- Nasal Aspirator. This has to be one of my favorite things to do regardless of a cold (Thad hates it, for the record), but get yourself a sold nasal aspirator to get the snot out. My preference is for the Nosefrida aspirator because it simply rocks. (it’s the blue thingy above with the spermy tail).
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Same as you would do for yourself. If you’re baby isn’t hydrated and not eating you had best call your doctor. Also, if the baby is having problems eating or drinking ibuprofen as a fever reducer can cause other complications with the stomach. So bottom line, keep your baby eating as much as he can and drinking.
- Let her sleep! Don’t over commit to hanging out with friends or taking your kid on too many excursions. Just like when you are sick, your baby needs her rest. So let her have it and stay close to home. Even though I’ve already told myself that I’d throw Thad’s schedule out the window and accomodate any sleep needs he has during this time, he’s done a shockingly great job sticking to his schedule. I would actually venture to say that his naps are a little harder on him because he’s waking himself up with a cough (and he’s doing the same thing in the middle of the night), but for the most part he’s still getting roughly the same amount of sleep.
I’m sure there are more tips from more experienced mothers, but I honestly think reverting back to how you would deal with your own cold is the best approach. While we haven’t called Dr. Marc for his cold yet, we did end up in urgent care on Sunday for a nasty diaper rash and they didn’t bat an eye at his fever or the fact that he was getting a cold. However, your little one’s age and symptoms will tell the full story. Follow your intuition and call or visit your doctor when you think its time (I’m very tight with Nurse Pat and she got to know us very well Thad’s first 4 months of life!).