Snot and sweat
A snotty, feverish baby is a sad thing to see. But colds and flu are inevitable, so here’s how to cope
sick baby smiles (Getty Images)
No matter if you breastfeed, are careful about who holds your baby and mop everything with antiseptic wipes; your baby will eventually catch a cold. Children younger than 10 - 12 years are especially vulnerable to the flu virus. While a cold comes on gradually, usually via the appearance of lots of snot, flu has a sudden onset in children. Within one hour a baby can run a high fever and be drastically ill, but he'll probably recover within 2-3 days.

Look for other signs of illness when your child has a fever, Flu symptoms in children are often misdiagnosed - or even missed:
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting or abdominal pain
  • Irritability
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Severe headache
  • Persistent crying
  • Inability to swallow
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ear pain

What to do
  • Keep the fever under control with paracetamol syrup and by sponging the baby with tepid (not cold) water. A child with a very high temperature might be at risk of a fever fit (febrile convulsion).
  • Do not treat your feverish child with aspirin, in rare cases this can trigger Reye's Syndrome which affects the brain and liver.
  • Antihistamines should not be used in children under the age of two, unless specifically recommended by the paediatrician.
  • Keep your child at home if he is ill or if a lot of children in his playgroup are ill.

When to call the doctor
  • Your child (any age) has a temperature of 39°C or more.
  • Your child has a fever even after taking paracetamol (such as Panado) for 3 days.
Do you know any tried and tested fixes for sick babies? Share them with us.

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