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Colds and chest congestion in newborn. What should be done?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
Hi , my baby boy is 1 month old and have the flu and is seriously congested , has a rattle in lungs what can I use for that
Posted Wed, 27 Feb 2013 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 59 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
Colds and chest congestion in newborn infants are at a high risk of getting complicated resulting in lower respiratory infection( pneumonia ), respiratory distress ( bronchiolitis) or sepsis .
Hence its advisable to get small infants evaluated by a pediatrician to rule out any complications even in case of cold and flu.
Rattling in infants is commonly due to congestion of nose and upper respiratory tract resulting in noisy breathing .
It's very common since infants are strictly nose breathers and their narrow nostrils are easily congested in colds.
You may try the following for relief ,
1. Use saline nose drops in each nostril thrice daily to decrease the congestion and to remove the pent up mucus ( with rubber suction bulb).
2. Keep the infant warm and in a humid environment( run a humidifier in the room etc) because dry cold conditions make it difficult for them to breathe.
Bathing with warm water may soothe the baby.
3. Make sure to maintain your baby's hydration with continued breastfeeding or formula.
4. Over the counter decongestants are not very helpful in babies younger than 6 months . However your doctor might want to prescribe an analgesic like acetaminophen if baby has fever or earache and antibiotics if any superadded bacterial infection is suspected .
5. Try making the baby sleep with the head end of the bed slightly raised( propped up) to help in easier breathing .
As of now I would recommend you get your child evaluated by a pediatrician to confirm the diagnosis and start further management accordingly . Meanwhile you can follow the above tips to help soothe the baby.
Hope I have answered your query.
Wishing your baby a speedy recovery .
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Colds and chest congestion in newborn. What should be done? 55 minutes later
Thank for your speedy response , I did get him evaluated Friday . We are currently using saline drops and nebulizer for a week now but is not seeing improvement . He also told us he would be very nasal for the next three due to the c- section ( please verify ) he was on histal and Predcort for a week but the doctor told us this would not help the baby because he is so young also he has lots of colic and cough day and night .please advise
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 11 hours later
Thanks for the follow up.
I understand your concern as a vigilant parent and appreciate your efforts .
Please do not worry.
Yes newborns ( especially C section borns)may take 2 weeks or more to recover from colds , however after the newborn period( 4 wks ) an infant wether normally delivered or through C section would be at similar risk.
Yes histal ( antihistamine) and predcort ( steroids ) have questionable role in infants less than 6 months old and studies do not recommend them . However if your baby was on them already its not advisable to stop them abruptly. The histal can be continued if baby has significant relief from cough and congestion when on it. An alternative to oral steroids could be inhaled steroid nebulisations along with bronchodilator ( ipratropiuml ) which has to be given under your doctors supervision only. It can relieve his cough as well as ease his breathing . So do discuss it with your doctor . If symptoms are persistent beyond two weeks your doctor might want to reevaluate with necessary investigations or start a course of antibiotics as per need.
Hope I have answered your query.
I'll be available for any follow queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Colds and chest congestion in newborn. What should be done? 2 days later
I realize that he may be getting thrush , what can I use for that
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 12 hours later
Thanks for the follow up.
Yes oral thrush can develop in babies especially after a course of steroids.In babies the tongue may appear coated which may appear like thrush but if wiped gently it comes off . In contrast white patches of oral thrush appear adherent to tongue.
Gentle oral hygiene like cleaning with a clean wash cloth wrapped around the mothers little finger is to be practiced.
Local application of anti fungal agent like clotrimazole ( candid mouth paint etc) twice daily can cure thrush.
Hope I have answered your query.
Wishing your baby good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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