When babies get sick, it can be extremely difficult to tell the difference between a cold or something more serious. With spring weather approaching, your baby could also be experiencing allergies. There are a few tell-tale signs of the differences between these conditions, such as the sound of their cough and the color of mucus.

We have some tricks for how to tell the difference between a cold, the flu, or allergies. If you’re not sure what your baby’s symptoms mean, you should always contact your pediatrician to be safe.

Cold: Colds are usually accompanied by a stuffy or runny nose, dry cough, and sometimes a slight fever. Your baby’s mucus will most likely thicken and turn grey, yellow or green over the course of the week. The dry cough is usually a response to a sore throat or post nasal drip. Watch when the fever breaks; if your baby goes back to eating and playing normally, then it’s probably a cold. If they still act ill once they return to a normal temperature, it could be more serious than a cold.

Allergies: A good warning sign of allergies are itchy and watery eyes and nose. Your baby may also experience sneezing fits or itchy skin. Allergies differ from a cold in that they usually aren’t accompanied by a fever and your baby’s mucus should run clear. If your child has asthma, they may also be wheeze or breathe noisily. You should see your pediatrician if this happens.

Flu: With the flu, your baby may experience similar symptoms to a cold. However, the flu usually has an abrupt onset with diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Your baby will also appear very fatigued and show a loss of appetite.

Children younger than four months generally should not have a cough, so contact your pediatrician if you notice this. A wet cough that produces phlegm or mucus in your baby’s airways is usually a sign of a respiratory illness, so you should also seek medical attention for this condition.

*If your baby is having trouble breathing, call your doctor immediately. If their cold symptoms last for more than a week or they are extremely sleepy and irritable, contact your pediatrician, as these could be signs of a more serious sickness.

*Note: Some of this information was taken from Babycenter.com– visit their website for more information on baby cold symptoms.

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