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My 8-month-old baby has had a typical cold for about a week, runny nose and flemmy cough. He got better for about 2 days and now seems to have it again. This time he coughs a lot at night to the point where he wakes up and can’t sleep.

I’m not sure if I should get him checked out, or if it is just a cold?

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Baby Help Line:

Baby With Cough – Symptoms Of Illness And Treatment

Upper respiratory infections are one of the most common and contagious reasons of illness in infants and young children. The most typical form of upper respiratory infections is the common cold. A common cold is often self-limited and usually lasts up to 7-14 days.

Upper respiratory infections might be caused by viral or bacterial infections; however, viruses are the responsible for most of the cases.

Frequent symptoms of upper respiratory infections in babies are nasal discharge and congestion, sneezing, sore throat, mild to moderate hacking cough, fever and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Quite frequently, cough is most noticeable at night. In upper respiratory infections, cough is worsened by nasal secretions that are obstructing the airway.

From what you describe, it seems that your son probably had the bad luck of getting another cold right after the first. It is important that during this period you offer your baby enough fluids (water, juice, breast-feeding) to keep him well hydrated.

If symptoms last longer than two weeks, it is necessary to take your baby to a doctor. If cough continues and/ or it is accompanied by purulent sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs) it is better to call your doctor because it may suggest bronchitis or pneumonia.

You also have to call your pediatrician if your baby has fever, ear infection, or sinus infection. The reason is that such infections will probably need antibiotic treatment.

Since it has been more than a week in which your baby is sick (even though he felt better for a couple of days), you may want to get him checked by your pediatrician just to make sure everything sounds good and to confirm that he does have a viral infection rather than a bacterial one that may need antibiotics to clear.

Hope your little guy feels better soon.
Paula
(Answer approved by our Medical Reference Team)

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