Information on Cold Symptoms and Rattling in a Newborn's Chest

If your newborn is showing sign and symptoms of a cold, making sure he gets the proper care and treatment is a priority. One sign of a severe cold and chest congestion is a slight rattling in the chest -- this may also be referred to as wheezing. MedlinePlus explains that breath sounds are the noises that the lungs produce during the normal breathing process. Your newborn’s pediatrician will be able to determine the cause of the rattling sound.


The common cold is also referred to as a viral infection. It generally affects the upper respiratory tract, but if left untreated, it can spread to the lower respiratory tract. If you begin to notice signs of wheezing, congestion or a rattle or clicking sound in your newborn’s chest, it could be an indication that the infection is serious. Any type of chest discomfort can be a sign that there is an infection in the lungs or bronchial tubes. In addition to noises in the chest, you newborn may also be running a fever, have a cough, display feelings of restlessness and produce phlegm or an unusual amount of mucous discharge from the mouth and nose.


friendly  children's doctor examining newborn

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Newborns acquire the common cold through close physical contact with someone who is contagious. If a droplet of the common cold virus is released through the eyes, nose or mouth, a newborn can easily get sick. When chest rattling or noises begin to occur, it is generally after the child has been sick with a cold for a few days. RSV or respiratory syncytial virus produces cold-like symptoms and is common in newborns in babies. RSV is serious because it can cause both upper respiratory tract infections as well as infections of the lower respiratory system, notes the American Lung Association. It can quickly turn into respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis, so prompt treatment is recommended.


The common cold can be difficult to treat because it is often resistant to most antibiotics. Your pediatrician will recommend the best and safest treatment for your newborn – never give over-the-counter medicine without inquiring with your pediatrician first. Often a pediatrician may prescribe acetaminophen in order to control fever and malaise. If the cold is producing a strong rattling sound, a chest x-ray may be recommended to rule out a widespread infection of the lungs. If mucous turns green and does not subside in a few days a round of antibiotics may be prescribed.


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Complications from a cold occur when it moves into the chest cavity and bronchial tubes. Croup is a type of cough that produces a rattling or barking sound. Croup is caused by a virus and can be a side effect of a cold. Bronchitis occurs when your newborn has had a cold or virus. A rattling cough, wheezing, fatigue and chest discomfort can occur. Viral pneumonia can also occur from a cold. Most cases of pneumonia are treated with an antibiotic and rest. In rare cases, complications from a cold result in a hospital admission.