By Health Promotion Board in collaboration with Dr. Yvonne Ng, Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatology, National University Hospital.

What Are Common Colds?

Common colds are caused by viruses that live in your surroundings. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, blocked and runny nose, mild fever, watery and red eyes. If the little one continues to be active, eats and plays as usual, there is no need to worry. Like any other virus, your little one will get better in a few days. 

What Can I Do for My Child?

Bed rest and fluids

The best remedy for a cold is plenty of rest and hydration. Continue to breastfeed your baby. He might throw a little fuss during feeding, especially if his nose is blocked. It’s important to remain patient and keep trying!

Infants below one will need more frequent feedings to stay hydrated, so feed him small amounts of milk throughout the day.

Do not give any medicine to your baby without consulting your paediatrician first. In general, no oral cough and cold medications are given to infants below one year old.

Help him breathe easy

You can use saline nasal drops or spray to clear mucous from baby's nose. Your doctor may prescribe nasal decongestants (a drug used to relieve nasal congestion) to help him breathe better.

Is it something more serious?

Common colds can develop into lung infection (pneumonia). Look out for signs such as:

  1. High fever (38.0 degrees Celsius and above)
  2. Breathing difficulties
  3. Noisy breathing (wheezing)
  4. Very poor appetite or refusing feeds
  5. Tired looking 

Bring him to the doctor when you notice any of the red flags mentioned above.


Bring your baby to the emergency department if your child has bluish lips, or is gasping for air.

Is it an allergy?

Allergies do not cause fevers. Classic symptoms of allergies are:

  1. Itchy, watery eyes and nose
  2. Repeated sneezing attacks
  3. Itchy skin
  4. Consistently clear mucus from the nose

These types of allergies usually occur in older children (aged one and above).

Related: 9 Common Issues Babies Face

Prevention is better than cure

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce your child’s risk exposure.

  1. Keep those hands clean! This applies to you, your child, and anyone else that comes into contact with your child.
  2. Avoid coming into contact with people who are ill.
  3. Continue breastfeeding your child—breast milk boosts his immunity.

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your baby a healthy start.

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