Cough and Cold in Newborns
Posted on August 20 2023
As responsible and concerned parents, we never want our children to get even the slightest illness, not even a minor cold or cough. However, during this season, it's quite common due to the cold air drying out nasal membranes and making it easier for viruses to enter the body. Remember that in young children, their immune systems aren't fully developed yet, making them more vulnerable.
Embracing a sustainable lifestyle also means responsible use of medications, and responsible medication use entails using them only when truly necessary.
Medications exist to provide relief, but so do our antibodies. If a baby doesn't strengthen their antibodies, we're actually making them increasingly susceptible. That's why a baby needs to learn how to defend themselves against external agents. As your baby explores, touches various objects, and sometimes puts them in their mouth, they come into contact with different viruses. The more their body learns, the more defenses they acquire, helping them stay healthy for longer.
How to Handle a Cough or Cold
Coughing is the body's defense mechanism to expel phlegm, and it doesn't go away overnight; it can take 1 or 2 weeks. If your baby has a cough or cold, offer them plenty of liquids, foods rich in vitamin C, and if breastfeeding, breast milk. Save medication for when it's really needed. If the condition doesn't improve within this period, it's recommended to consult a doctor, especially if the baby experiences difficulty breathing, such as rapid breathing, yellow or greenish mucus (with traces of blood), or other alarming symptoms.
We often use the term "fever" to indicate that our baby has a temperature, but it doesn't necessarily mean hyperthermia. The normal body temperature for a healthy child ranges between 36-37 degrees Celsius (97-98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). If the temperature exceeds 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), it's considered hyperthermia, and it's crucial to consult a doctor for immediate treatment. Fever is often the first symptom and not always indicative of the underlying disease. Therefore, it's recommended to see a doctor to conduct appropriate tests and identify the virus or bacteria causing it.
Hyperthermia (37+ degrees Celsius or 98.6+ degrees Fahrenheit) indicates a possible viral or bacterial process. However, the prudent use of medications such as antibiotics is our responsibility; overusing medications can irritate the baby's intestines and have consequences for their future health. Antibiotics, in particular, eliminate both harmful and beneficial bacteria, affecting gut flora.
Responsible Use of Medications
We often rush to the nearest clinic (like pharmacies) due to their accessibility. However, the PROBLEM is that antibiotics are frequently prescribed instead of penicillin (for example), often due to pharmacies' demand for greater revenue. This can result in unnecessary costs for purchasing medications, and your child might not even need them or might be allergic to them. REMEMBER that recurrent antibiotic use leads to resistance, diminishing their effectiveness over time.
Hence, only when a genuine infection is present and under a doctor's approval, resort to antibiotics and consult a trusted medical professional. For colds and coughs, allow your baby's immune system to learn and develop. Keep a thermometer handy to monitor hyperthermia (37+ degrees Celsius or 98.6+ degrees Fahrenheit). As parents, we understand the importance of tending to our children's health, but this doesn't mean administering medication at the slightest symptom.
Medications like ibuprofen aren't recommended for children (confirmed by various studies in the US). If you're interested in learning more about this topic, stay tuned for upcoming posts.
If your baby requires a urine analysis, don't struggle with sample collection bags; instead, use a waterproof cover without the absorbent part. This way, you can collect sufficient urine without discomforting your baby. Subsequently, transfer the collected urine to a sample container. This method is much more convenient and practical for both you and your baby compared to dealing with tricky urine sample bags that often don't capture well and can be uncomfortable.
Caring for our children within a sustainable living environment is creating a new generation with a brighter future—a planet that's green and sustainable for everyone.