When your baby finally makes his way out of the womb and into the real world, his immune system won’t be able to fight off all of the germs and infections he might encounter. It’s not uncommon for a newborn baby to come down with some type of virus, especially if he or she has a lot of contact with other children or family members.

You’ll probably notice right away if your baby has come down with a cold. He’ll have a runny nose, a low-grade fever, and a cough. Colds in babies don’t look much different than colds in adults. However, it’s important that you monitor your baby’s symptoms closely, as it could be something more serious. If the cough doesn’t go away and his breathing seems to be getting more labored, it’s time he gets tested for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

RSV is common in newborn babies, and many will get the infection before they reach the age of two. The chances of major complications are low. Though, it’s important that it gets treated as soon as possible so that it doesn’t turn into a more serious problem such as an ear infection, bronchiolitis, or pneumonia. Premature babies are more likely to be afflicted with RSV because their immune systems are slightly weaker than babies who were born full term. Antibiotics can’t treat the virus, but there are some suggestions your doctor might make after your baby has been diagnosed.

As long as your baby doesn’t need special treatment such as oxygen or a fluid IV at the hospital, home remedies will help treat the infection effectively. A vaporizer and some saline solution drops in the nose will help loosen up the mucus in your baby’s airways. Also, elevating the head slightly during naptime will help him breathe more easily. In some cases, your doctor might recommend acetaminophen. If your baby gets RSV, it will probably go away on its own in a week or so. According to recent studies, there are actually some ways you might be able to prevent the onset of RSV before your baby is even born, The results of the research showed that when mothers got plenty of vitamin D when their baby was still in utero, the babies were less likely to get RSV. It was also determined that exposure to common allergens and probiotics during pregnancy were helpful in prevention.

Source: Mirjam Belderbos. Neonatal Innate Immunity. Pediatric Allergy Immunology Volume 127 Issue 6 pp. 1513-1520 June 2011