During the winter months most families will be affected by the common cold. Colds are caused by viruses and
spread by touch and droplets through the air, making it easy for the whole family to become infected.
Babies and young children are the most vulnerable to viruses because their immune systems haven't fully developed. Most of the natural immunity inherited from mum via the placenta is lost by the age of six months.
Babies are often prone to colds during the first winter following this. As babies and young children grow older, their immunity matures and they usually catch less colds and infections.
The average child has between four and twelve upper respiratory tract infections a year. With the peak incidence
between the ages of one to six years old.
Because colds are caused by viruses, they can't be treated with antibiotics. The only way to treat a cold is to address its symptoms and let the body's own immunity fight off the virus.
The signs and symptoms Symptoms of a cold may include sneezing, watery eyes, dry irritable cough, slightly raised temperature, watery runny nose or blocked stuffy nose. In babies and infants a blocked nose can be extremely distressing, as they find it difficult to breathe through their mouths. This is especially so at feeding time, because a baby can't suck and breathe at the same time.