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The common cold

Fall is here and with that weather change sometimes comes the cold or flu. Jessica Hartshorn, Senior Lifestyle Editor for American Baby Magazine, gives advice on helping moms through the illnesses that bother babies most.

In diagnosing the illness, if it's a minor infection it probably is the common cold. With that may come a cough, stuffed nose and occasionally a mild fever. You can expect your infant to get about seven minor colds a year, but if your baby is younger than 3 months call your doctor because it can turn into pneumonia quickly. If your child is younger than four weeks and has a fever, go to the emergency room immediately.

If your child seems to have a bad cold that comes on suddenly with a high fever and occasional vomiting it probably is the flu. Take this respiratory infection seriously. Babies younger than six months have the highest risk of being hospitalized and also the highest rates of flu mortality because their immune system hasn't developed. If you were vaccinated when you were pregnant your antibodies cut your baby's flu risk by 41 percent during those first six months. After that she's old enough to get her own shot.

If your baby has a cough that starts after midnight they probably has the croup. Babies get croup when a virus causes swelling in the larynx, vocal cords and windpipe. If you hear a whistley sound when your baby is resting, breathing rapidly or you can see the skin near his ribs pull in with each breath call the doctor. If you've tried running the humidifier and using cool air and he's not getting better, call the doctor. He might need steroids or ephinephrine to reduce inflammation.

For more information on colds and your baby and other parenting tips, click here.

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