Soothing babies and toddlers with colds or flu – tips and advice

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Does anything tug on our heartstrings more than when we see our babies bogged down with colds or flu? The poor things can’t understand why they feel so unwell, and all we want to do is comfort them.

However, these pesky illnesses are so easy for kids to pick up, particularly during cold and flu season, which kicks off from around October to May.

Here are the tips and advice you need to know about nursing your little one through it:

What’s the difference between a cold and flu?

The symptoms of colds and flu are similar, so it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference. However, they are not the same. In most cases, flu is more severe, and usually comes with a high temperature or fever and includes symptoms like headaches and muscle soreness.

Will antibiotics make a difference?

Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial illnesses. As colds and flu are viral illnesses, antibiotics will have no effect whatsoever.

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Can I give my child pain relief?

You might be unsure whether you can give your child a pain reliever – but there are pain and fever relief options on the market for babies. These can help lower your little one’s temperature and soothe their symptoms. Ensure you read the ingredients and instructions carefully before giving them to your baby, and if you’re unsure, contact your GP for advice.

Calpol® Infant Suspension is a gentle pain and fever relief and is suitable for babies as young as two months (weighing more than 4kg). Calpol® Infant Suspension contains paracetamol. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL

What can I do to soothe them while they’re unwell?

It's important your baby or toddler doesn't become dehydrated, so ensure they drink liquids regularly. Keep a sippy-cup or bottle topped up with cool water – and for toddlers, a handy tip is to give them fruit ice lollies. Not only will they be delighted with the treat, but the ice will also help cool them down and keep them hydrated. 

Try to feed your baby as normal, and if your toddler has no appetite, a good idea is to give them light, liquid meals like tasty smoothies, soups or even some ice-cream.

With colds and flu comes temperature, so keep your child dressed in light, cotton clothes. Layer light bedding so you can remove or add blankets easily, depending on how warm your child is feeling.

Colds and flu really take it out of kids, so of course, they need as much rest as possible to recuperate. To help them get some much-needed shut-eye, ensure their room is cool, quiet and restful.

With colds and flu comes the sniffles and a stuffy nose, particularly at night time. Put your toddler’s pillow at a slight incline, or place a folded towel under the mattress of your baby’s crib, helping drain that stuffy head.

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When should I seek medical advice?

Particularly with little ones, there’s the risk that flu can develop into a more serious condition, like a sinus infection or pneumonia. Visit your doctor if your child is steadily getting worse, or if they have a high temperature.

What exactly is considered a high temperature?

Always seek medical help if your baby is under three months and their temperature is higher than 38°C (100.4°F) or if they are between three and six months and it's higher than 39°C (102.2°F) or if they are over six months and it's 40°C (104°F) or higher. To keep track, check their temperature regularly, using a digital thermometer.

CALPOL® Infant Suspension is a gentle pain and fever relief for babies as young as 2 months, weighing more than 4kg and not premature. CALPOL® Infant Suspension contains paracetamol. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.

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CALPOL® Infant Suspension contains paracetamol for pain and fever. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.
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