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Can Newborns Get Colds?

Understanding The Common Cold

Camille Freking, MS Pharmacology Profile Photo

Written by Camille Freking, MS Pharmacology on November 5, 2021

The common cold is one of the most annoying culprits of congestion and a runny nose, or, as we like to call it, the sniffles.

A cold is mostly harmless except for a week or so of discomfort and nose-blowing, and your newborn is vulnerable to the common cold the same way that you are. Knowing the symptoms of a cold that most often show themselves in babies can help you quickly recognize when your newborn has a cold, and when it might be something serious.

Overview of the Common Cold in Babies

Simply put, a common cold is a viral infection that impacts your baby’s nose and throat. This is why a cold often causes nasal congestion and a runny nose... and, you guessed it, these two symptoms also happen to be the first indicators that your newborn has caught a cold.

Newborns and babies are actually more susceptible to illness and colds because their bodies have yet to build the same kind of immunity that we adults have, and in their first year of life, the average baby may catch up to 7 colds, or even more if they often spend time in daycare or other childcare settings where they are around plenty of other kiddos.

The most common signs and symptoms of a common cold include:

  • A fever
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Having trouble nursing or taking a bottle due to nasal congestion

Knowing these common symptoms, and keeping an eye out for them, can make it easier for you to spot a cold right when it starts and watch your baby carefully. If your baby is under 3 months of age, you should call your doctor as soon as you notice the illness, especially if your baby has a fever. Your doctor will be able to make sure it is nothing more serious -- colds are mostly just a nuisance, but it is never a bad idea to play it safe.

What To Do If Your Newborn Catches a Cold

If your baby has come down with a cold, there are a few things you can do to help them right at home.

One of the absolute best things you can do for your baby is to sit with them in humidified air. Humidity can help lubricate your baby’s nasal sinuses, which eases congestion and can prevent a cough. So, if you notice that your little one has the sniffles, getting on top of it right away with a humidifier can help keep those sniffles from turning into a cough.

There are also certain medicines you can use to help ease your baby’s symptoms. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are generally appropriate if your baby is clearly uncomfortable.

That said, though, many commercially available medicines have artificial inactive ingredients that you probably don’t want to give to your newborn, and that is where Genexa comes in.

Genexa is the first clean medicine brand, and they are revolutionizing the industry by making medicine you can trust. Their products contain the active ingredients you need without the inactive, artificial ingredients you don’t need. You can feel better knowing you’re choosing the right medicine for your kids.

Genexa’s Kids’ Cold Crush cold medicine is formulated to address those pesky cold symptoms, including cough, mucus, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. It is suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 11, but if your kiddo is under 3 years old, you should consult a doctor before using this product. Childrens’ bodies work differently than ours, and a good rule of thumb is to always play it safe and consult your pediatrician, especially if your little one is still an infant.

Placing your child in an upright position while they are awake may also help improve their symptoms, and they should be laid flat while they are sleeping. You can also opt for nasal saline drops or solutions to ease congestion.

Generally, any cold that your newborn catches will last anywhere from 7-10 days, and any fever should resolve in two to three days. If your baby’s symptoms last beyond this duration, it warrants a trip to the pediatrician so you can make sure there isn’t a more serious issue.

Of course, if you do have other concerns, it never hurts to consult your pediatrician, and there are actually a few signs that indicate this may be necessary.

When To Consult Your Pediatrician

Though a cold is most often just a temporary nuisance, sometimes it is necessary to consult your pediatrician upon the appearance of more serious symptoms. You should consult a doctor if:

  • Your baby has a high temperature / fever
  • Your baby’s cough continues for a long time, especially if it seems to worsen at night or when they are moving around
  • They have trouble breathing -- if this happens, treat it as an emergency situation
  • They are losing weight for no apparent reason
  • The side of their neck feels swollen

In addition, you should keep in mind that sometimes, cold symptoms can be disguising something like an ear infection, which often requires medication. Symptoms of an earache include:

  • Difficulty hearing
  • Discharge running out of ears
  • Itching and irritation in and around the ear

Newborns and babies may exhibit the discomfort of an earache by rubbing or pulling at their ear, not reacting to certain sounds, or easily losing their balance. Most earaches will resolve by themselves within a few days, but if sometimes seem to be prolonged, you should call your pediatrician.


Some methods of preventing colds and other illnesses moving forward include washing your baby’s hands throughout the day and helping boost their immune system by maintaining regular sleeping and feeding habits.

When it comes down to it, though, it can be difficult to prevent illness if your baby spends a lot of time around other babies.

The Bottom Line

Newborns are susceptible to colds the same way that adults are, and may even be more prone to them because their bodies have yet to build up immunity to many forms of illness.

While most colds are just a nuisance lasting about 7-10 days, a cold can sometimes be masking something more serious. Colds that last longer than 10 days, that worsen after 10 days, or that come with more severe symptoms are all indications that you should consult a doctor.

If your newborn catches a cold, you can help them at home by using a humidifier or other method of adding moisture to the air, as this can ease congestion and help prevent a cough from starting.

Certain medicines, like those offered by Genexa, may also help soothe symptoms if they start to cause any discomfort.

In general, as long as your baby does not appear to be in any pain, and they are not having trouble breathing or a high temperature, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you do have any concerns, though, it never hurts to consult a doctor for some guidance and peace of mind.