What to Keep On Hand When Babies Get Sick

When baby experiences cold and flu symptoms, it can turn your smiling, laughing bundle of joy into a very sorrowful sick baby; not to mention cause a serious cramp in your household. From thermometers and humidifiers to baby medicines and nasal aspirators, we've compiled a list of eight things you need to keep on hand to provide comfort for your sick baby (ages 0 to 2).

Thermometer to Interpret a Sick Baby's Symptoms

Cough. Sniffle. Sneeze. Cry. Any combination of these sounds can cause you to stop in your tracks and wonder, "how do I know if my baby is sick?" The first step is finding out whether or not your baby has a fever. Thermometers provide an accurate temperature which serves as one of many indicators as to whether a sick baby should be seen by a physician. What is a fever for a baby? A baby fever is not, "baby feels warm." The American Academy of Pediatrics states, "a rectal temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever." There are different types of thermometers, but you don't need the fanciest or most expensive to get an accurate reading; all digital thermometers should do the trick. A rectal temp is the most accurate way to measure a baby's temperature. Certain brands offer specific thermometers for this task which help parents get an exact reading quickly and carefully due to fast results and comfort guards to ensure thermometers are properly and safely inserted.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics: Fevers aren't always a cause for alarm. However, you should "call your child's doctor right away if your child has a fever and is younger than three months (12 weeks) and has a temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher."

Baby Medicine to Relieve Pain & Reduce Fever

When teething pain or fever strikes, acetaminophen can be a parent's and sick baby's best friend. In addition to acetaminophen, many moms and dads will keep Ibuprofen in their medicine cabinet which can also be used as a pain reliever and way to treat baby's fever. Before you reach for the Ibuprofen, however, note that it should only be given to baby ages six months of age and over, unless directed by a physician. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are safe and effective medicines if used as directed for improving your child's comfort," and they may also bring down the baby's fever.

Important notes about baby medicine: NEVER give aspirin to baby as it can result in serious side effects. Administer antibiotics only when prescribed by a physician, as overuse can potentially lead to autoimmune disease, allergies, asthma and even obesity; in other words, it can be a prescription for trouble. Before using teething medications, gels, or tablets, verify their safety with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Ointment to Relieve a Sick Baby's Cough & Cold Symptoms

When your sick baby coughs, you want nothing more than to calm their congestion. Soothing chest, neck and back ointment can help ease agitated infants (ages three months and older) with eucalyptus, aloe vera, and subtle scents of rosemary and lavender. Bonus: Use this time as a little way to bond with baby by talking about your day, massaging their baby soft skin, and gazing into those beautiful blue eyes.

Nasal Aspirator for a Sick Baby's Runny Nose

Sniffly noses are brought on by many things from the common baby cold to those annoying allergies. Whatever the cause, nasal suction can help a sick baby with a runny nose. If the idea of "sucking snot" sends your stomach churning, don't turn your nose up quite yet. With your own inhalation, modern nasal aspirators quickly and efficiently extract the baby mucus; while at the same time guards your mouth against any, well, meandering mucus (ew). Bonus: Nasal rinses and aspirators are super easy to clean, meaning you can be confident you're removing those nasty germs, rather than reintroducing them.

Lotions to Relieve a Sick Baby's Rash

The common cold or virus is frequently accompanied by a baby rash, though there are numerous other types and reasons for breakouts as well, including dry skin which can often accompany other illnesses. Apply a soothing lotion or baby rash cream to relieve your sick baby's irritated skin. Bonus: Take this time to bond with baby by singing your favorite lullaby while you massage baby's chest and back.

Important: If you notice a rash on baby, check to see if it is what doctors call a "blanchable rash." Do this by pressing gently on the rash. If it pales or turns " white" in color, it is a blanchable rash, which is less concerning, though still may require evaluation, depending on other symptoms, However, if it does not blanch (turn white), it is a "nonblanchable rash" and requires immediate evaluation.

Electrolytes to Keep a Sick Baby Hydrated

Sick babies can quickly become dehydrated babies. Whether they are simply not consuming enough fluids because they don't feel well, or they are struggling to keep fluids down (and increasing your laundry load at the same time), it's important to keep your sick baby hydrated while their bodies attempt to fight off the germs. The best form of fluid for a sick baby is breast milk or formula, but if the kiddo can't keep it down, Pedialyte may be needed. Pedialyte comes in all different flavors, though it's often recommended by many moms and dads that you serve it chilled for it to be most appetizing. Before dishing up a sippy cup of this, first talk to your child's physician to ensure it is appropriate for your baby's age, and you know the proper fluid requirement for your baby's specific weight.

Humidifier to Help a Sick Baby Breath Easier

Humidifiers are handy because they help relieve baby's cold and flu symptoms, keep their tender skin from drying out, and provide overall comfort. Together, this means your sick baby has a better chance of sleeping through the night. What's not to love, right? There are many humidifiers suitable for baby's nursery because they can run quietly for up to 24 hours and even come in kid-approved designs. Better yet, you can even find a mystifying mist-maker that features clean control antimicrobial material, so it says cleaner by reducing the growth of mold and bacteria.

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Hand Soap & Sanitizers to Help Stop the Spread of Germs

You love your baby with all your heart which means you share everything from kisses and hugs to utensils and, well, germs. Surviving baby's cold and flu can be tricky. Help stop the spread of germs, which can run rampant and wreak havoc on a household, by washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizers after handling your sick baby. It's true you can't hold your baby too much so snuggle up with your sick ones, moms and dads. Just don't forget to suds up with soap and slather on the sanitizers.