How to prevent baby's cold
COMPLICATIONS OF THE COMMON COLDThe nasal cavities are lined with a mucous membrane communicating with the rest of the respiratory and auditory system: ears, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, bronchi and lungs.
They are the point of entry for viruses and bacteria that target the respiratory system. The mucous membrane has therefore developed its own defence mechanisms to avoid infections and their spread. Amongst these defence mechanisms, a baby’s still immature immune system is unable to play its full defensive role, which explains how babies and children are so often prone to colds, and even more so in environments such as day care and schools, where illnesses are easily spread.
Once cold viruses infect the nasal cavities they can spread if not prevented:
To the ear, leading to ear infections ;
To the sinuses, causing sinusitis;
To the throat, giving your child rhinopharyngitis or laryngitis;
To the bronchi and bronchioles where they can cause bronchitis or bronchiolitis
In addition to being directly responsible for causing certain complications, cold viruses can weaken the mucous membrane leaving it more susceptible to certain bacteria, at the cause of further complications. These are known as secondary bacterial infections.
WHY AND HOW TO PREVENT THEM ?In the first few months of life a baby breathes almost exclusively through the nose, allowing the child to breathe and feed at the same time. Any blockage or congestion in the nose causes difficulty breathing, feeding and sleeping. Should the cold then lead to complications these difficulties become even harder for your baby to deal with, which in turn causes further distress for parents too. It is therefore vital to prevent colds and further complications wherefore possible.
Preventive measures depend largely on good basic hygiene:
- Regularly wash your child’s hands. Babies have a tendency to frequently put their hands in their mouth, nose and eyes, the best means of ensuring contamination!
- Frequently wash toys (including soft toys).
- Ask those who come into contact with your baby to wash their hands and to cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, when they have a cold.
- Avoid smoking around your baby. Indeed, passive smoking weakens the mucous membrane leaving it more vulnerable to infections.
- Finally, because babies cannot yet blow their nose, you need to ensure their good nasal hygiene.