It’s easier for babies to catch sicknesses, which means there’s a good chance your little one will be battling a cold this summer.
In the winter, it can feel nice to stay inside and cuddle up while she gets better. But in the warmer months, you may have fun events to attend and want to speed up the healing process.
In this post, we’ll discuss what a summer cold is, how to prevent it and tips for making your baby feel better faster.
What is a Summer Baby Cold?
Rhinoviruses tend to survive better in cold weather, which is why most people get sick during flu season (which lasts from October to May). However, as you probably know, it’s still possible to get sick in the summer months.
During any time of the year, but particularly in the summer and fall, people can be infected with non-polio enteroviruses. These viruses typically affect your nose, eyes and digestive system. Many people say that winter colds feel worse. One possible reason is that, along with the common cold symptoms, they can also cause pink eye, rashes and diarrhea. Unfortunately, the sickness may also last longer.
Summer Cold Symptoms
If your baby has these symptoms, she may have a summer cold:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Colds usually go away within a week and there’s usually no need to seek medical help. However, you should contact your doctor if your baby:
- Has a high fever (100.4+ for babies up to 2 months and 101.5+ for babies over 2 months)
- The cold doesn’t go away after about 10 days
- Isn’t eating or drinking
- Has breathing problems
- Swollen glands
Summer Cold Vs. Summer Baby Allergies
If your baby’s cold lasts longer than 10 days without improvement or reoccurs frequently, talk to your doctor about whether it could be summer allergies.
Grasses and weeds may pop up around the same time your baby gets sick, so it can be hard to tell whether it’s allergies. The symptoms are also similar:
- Runny nose
How to Prevent Baby Colds in the Summer
There’s no foolproof way to prevent colds. But the good news is that there’s a couple of ways you can significantly reduce your baby’s chances.
- Wash your hands— Before touching, feeding or changing your baby’s diaper, wash your hands with soap and water to kill any possible germs. Ask everyone in the family to follow suit.
- Use hand sanitizer— If you’re enjoying the weather outside without a sink nearby, make sure to carry around some hand sanitizer. Before anyone holds your baby, offer them some too. It may help to attach a keychain-sized sanitizer to your stroller so it’s handy on the long summer walks.
- Minimize AC use— On a blazing hot day, air conditioners can be a lifesaver. However, it can dry out your baby’s body too much, preventing mucus from forming. Although mucus should be cleaned out of your baby’s nose to stop germs from spreading, on the positive side, they actually capture the germs so you can remove them. Without mucus, there’s nothing to “grab” her germs. Another issue is that air conditioners circulate the same air, keeping the germs within the same space.
- Don’t share— If a family member uses your baby’s utensils or plates, ask them to break the habit. Cleaning off items with your saliva is also another way to transfer germs. For example, if your baby’s fork or pacifier falls on the ground, give it a proper wash instead of sticking it in your mouth to clean.
- Stay away from sick people— If someone in your family is sick, it’s a good idea for them to keep their distance until they’re feeling better. If a friend or acquaintance has a cold, simply remind them that babies are more susceptible to viruses, but you know your baby would love to see them more next time. If you know someone is sick, try to avoid bringing your baby to their home.
- Clean surfaces— Regularly clean all surfaces, including tables, countertops, phones and remotes. Put tissues directly in the trash instead of leaving them laying around.
10 Summer Cold Remedies for Babies
Once your baby has a cold, there’s no magic medication to make it better. Instead, there’s a few things you can do to ease her suffering and hopefully make it go away sooner.
#1 Snotty Buddy
A stuffy nose can make it difficult to breathe, leaving your baby fussy and miserable. Not only that, but it keeps germs in the body until you remove it. You probably have a traditional suction bulb, but if you’ve ever used it, you probably know how ineffective they can be. After several attempts, mucus still remains and your baby is even crankier.
The new Snotty Buddy is an easy-to-use and quick alternative. It was designed and endorsed by pediatricians to make relieving congestion less of a headache. Simply insert one end into your baby’s nose and the other into your mouth. Suck on the mouthpiece like a straw to draw out your baby’s mucus. Although it doesn’t sound pleasant, the filter stops the snot from flowing through, making it clean and effective. To make it even easier, some parents add a few saline drops to their baby’s nose to loosen the snot beforehand. If you don’t have drops, you can make your own by mixing a half teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water.
#2 Increase humidity
Although summertime humidity can be uncomfortable and sticky, using a cool-mist humidifier can help clear congestion. Changing the water in it daily can prevent bacteria from forming inside.
#3 Encourage sleep
When your baby is feeling stuffy, it can be difficult for her to sleep, so make sure to clean her nose before bedtime. If company comes to visit the little one, don’t try to keep her awake. Instead, keep your voices low and encourage her to nap frequently.
#4 Create steam
If it’s a really hot day, the last thing you probably want to do is sit in a hot, steamy room, but it can help your baby breathe! Close your washroom door and run the shower on hot for a few minutes until steam forms. Sit inside with your baby to allow her mucus to soften. Using this trick before the Snotty Buddy is also a good idea.
#5 Elevate her head
If you’re holding your baby, tilting her head upwards will allow her to breathe easier. Nighttime can also be a struggle with a cold, so you can try putting a rolled towel UNDER the mattress where her head will lay to elevate it. Do NOT put pillows, towels or blankets on the mattress with her because it increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
#6 Stop second-hand smoke
We’ve written about why second-hand smoke is dangerous for babies, but it’s even more of a problem if they have a cold. Breathing in smoke can increase healing time and the risk of bronchitis or pneumonia. If you haven’t already, ask anyone who smokes to do so outside. They should also wear a designated “smoking sweater” they can remove when they’re inside, along with washing their hands. If you can, avoid homes or places where cigarette smoke is.
#7 Petroleum jelly
If you notice your baby’s nose getting red and dry, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly under the nose.
#8 Feed more fluids
The cold can deplete your baby’s fluids, so be sure to continue breast or bottle feeding. If you’re introducing foods, try adding chicken broth to their sippy cup. To check if she’s dehydrated, look at the color of her urine. If it’s dark, she needs more fluids. If it’s clear or light yellow, she’s getting the right amount. Of course, foods high in vitamin C can give her a big healing boost, too.
#9 Extra Love
Okay, so maybe there’s no specific research to back this one up, but your baby is going through a tough time fighting off the cold. To help comfort her, extra hugs and cuddles are in order. Soothe her fussiness by rocking her, laying her on her stomach across your lap or simply by making physical contact.
#10 Avoid medications (generally)
Although children and adults can benefit from a cough syrup or other cold medications, they aren’t safe for babies. If she’s older than 2 months, Tylenol can be a safe choice. However, most colds can be resolved without medication, so talk to your pediatrician before giving her anything.
Since babies are more suspectable to illness, it’s normal for them to catch a cold during the summer. Like any other cold, the biggest tips to prevent and cure it involve avoiding germs. Wash hands and surfaces frequently and contact your pediatrician if it lasts longer than 10 days.
Do you have tips on preventing baby summer colds? If so, comment them below. If you have any mom friends, keep their babies healthy by sharing this post!
P.S. Do you have your Snotty Buddy yet? If not, you can get one today for less than $10. Parents are amazed by how much easier it is to use than the traditional nasal aspirator. If you’re not sure, there’s even a 90-day money back guarantee!