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Help Your Baby Feel Better

Common Cold

Infants will get between six and ten of these viral infections in a year.

Peak age: Your baby's first cold will probably occur at 1 to 3 months -- just the first of many she'll have throughout childhood!

What to do: Keep her comfortable, give her plenty of fluids, and make sure your house isn't too dry. Talk with your pediatrician before giving your infant any over-the-counter cold medications. And call the doctor if your baby is under 3 months and gets even a mild cold; young infants are more susceptible to such complications as pneumonia. For older babies, call the doctor if she's running a fever higher than 103°F, if symptoms don't improve in five days, if a cough lingers longer than two weeks, or if she seems to be in pain.

A note on sore throats: They're usually viral in children under 2 -- and thus don't respond to antibiotics -- but you should call your doctor if one lasts more than a few hours. She can quickly determine whether it's strep (a bacterial infection that, if left untreated, could lead to serious complications, including rheumatic fever).