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Colds & Congestion

Infants often experience nasal stuffiness even without having a cold. If there are obvious secretions in the nose, you can clear these by gently suctioning each nostril with the bulb syringe you were given at the hospital. Be sure to clean the bulb syringe with plenty of water after each use.

If thick or dry secretions are present, 1 or 2 saline drops (NaSal, Ayr, Ocean, etc.) can be placed in each nostril before suctioning. Be careful not to over-suction the nose, as this can irritate the delicate nasal tissues and worsen the stuffiness. Do not use other kinds of nose drops unless directed to do so by your pediatrician. A baby with head congestion may be more comfortable sleeping with the upper body elevated.

A common viral "cold" is usually manifest by congestion, mild cough, runny nose and low grade fever. It generally lasts 7 to 14 days. Antibiotics do not alter such an infection and should not be given.

You should contact us if any of the following signs of a bacterial infection occur:

  1. Fever over 100 degrees F for more than 24 hours.

  2. Fever over 100 degrees F (taken under the arm) in a child under two months of age.

  3. Fever over 100 degrees F for longer than three days.

  4. Unusually persistent symptoms.

  5. Extreme fretfulness.

  6. Heaving of the chest with breathing (retractions).

  7. Blueness of the lips or tongue.

  8. Cough in an infant less than two months old.

  9. Prolonged refusal to eat or sleep.


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