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Is my baby sick or teething?

Teething is a process that can begin as early as 3 months old and can last until 2 years old. Babies will be impacted differently from teething, with some babies popping out teeth without any effort while other babies show irritability with each tooth erupting. You may find yourself faced with the question- is my baby sick with a runny nose or teething?

Drooling is one of the first signs of your baby teething. With teething, you may also begin to notice your baby wanting to chew on anything. With this desire to gnaw and chew on anything, your baby is at an increased risk of getting exposed to germs and getting sick. This is where the chicken or the egg phenomenon takes place with teething or being sick with a runny nose. Is the sickness or runny nose related to the teething or is your baby actually getting sick from the increased germ exposure?

The lower front teeth are typically the first to appear. Even though these teeth may not appear until 6 months old, your baby may begin drooling by 3 months old. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that there are teething symptoms a baby can have. These include irritability, drooling, runny nose, and loss of appetite. These symptoms usually start the day before the tooth erupts and lasts until the day after.

Be careful not to blame everything on teething. You want to be able to notice when your baby is actually getting sick and not teething. For example, if your baby is irritable for more than 2 days, has diarrhea for more than a day, or has a fever greater than 100.4°F, your baby is likely not teething but is sick. A runny nose is a common symptom that babies can have often, with or without sickness. If a fever and/or cough is present with the runny nose or the runny nose produces green or yellow mucus, then the runny nose is likely to be accompanying a cold or other illness.

A few tips to help you manage your baby’s teething include:baby eczema treatment - baby pibu hydrating ointment

  • Chilled teething products. There are teething products designed to be cooled in the refrigerator or freezer. Use these to give your irritable baby some relief.
  • If your baby is particularly irritable or miserable with discomfort, consider giving acetaminophen for pain relief.
  • Chronic drooling can lead to a facial rash. Slather on a protective ointment such as Baby Pibu’s Hydrating Ointment to protect your baby’s skin and prevent a facial drool rash. Slather on the ointment particularly with naptimes and bedtime.

Remember to contact your pediatrician if your baby is showing signs of being sick (fever, diarrhea, colored runny nose with cough).