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Academic baby under attack!

Hey, remember when I told you I got my first cold after going to childcare? Well, that was just the beginning of my adventure with germs. My parents, who are both microbiologists, knew that I would get sick a lot, but they also knew that this was good for my immune system to grow stronger and smarter.

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About a month ago, I started to cough like crazy, my nose was dripping like a faucet, and I was so tired and sleepy all the time. My parents took me to the pediatrician as soon as I had a fever, which for babies is 38 C (100.4 F) or higher when measured in the ear. I use an ear thermometer because it’s more accurate!

The doctor checked me out and took a nasal swab. A couple of days later, my parents got the results: I had Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Sounds scary, right? But it’s actually a common virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory problems, like pneumonia. The treatment for RSV is pretty simple: they just had to keep me hydrated and comfy, and use a humidifier to help me breathe easier.

We have this awesome humidifier that makes me sleep like a baby (well, I am a baby, but you know what I mean). It’s especially helpful because winter in Boston is so dry, and it’s good to keep the humidity around 50-60 % for a cozy environment. However, in some homes 60% might be too high and contribute to the growth of mold. You need to think about that first. We shoot for 45-50% in our home.

The pediatrician also told my parents to give me acetaminophen for the fever and to make sure I was drinking enough fluids (but ALWAYS ask your doctor before giving any medicine to your baby!). After a week, I started to feel better. Yay!

But wait, there’s more. About a month later, I was still coughing a lot and my nose was running again. My parents took me back to the doctor, and she did a thorough exam on me. She ruled out pneumonia (phew!), but then she said, “We have two options here: 1) we can run a panel of respiratory bugs to see if there’s something new infecting her or 2) we treat her with antibiotics that kill bacterial infections that can happen after RSV infections”. That’s when Academic Dad stepped in and said: “Hold on, antibiotics only kill bacteria, not viruses. Let’s do the test panel first and then decide what to do next”. A few days later, we got the results: antibiotics would have been useless, because I had Adenovirus, Coronavirus HKU1 and Coronavirus OC43. Yep, I had 3 different viruses at the same time!

Adenovirus is another common respiratory virus that can cause fever, cough, sore throat, and pink eye. In some cases, it can also cause pneumonia or bronchitis. The treatment for adenovirus is pretty much the same as for RSV: rest, fluids, and pain/fever relievers.

Coronavirus HKU1 and coronavirus OC43 are also respiratory viruses that can cause anything from a mild cold to a severe respiratory illness. They make me cough, have a fever, and a runny nose. Luckily, they are not the ones that cause COVID. The treatment for these viruses is also similar to any cold: rest, hydration, and fever control.

It’s important to mention that while these viruses can be serious for babies and young kids, most of us will get better without any problems. However, if your baby has severe symptoms, like trouble breathing or a very high fever, you should seek  urgent medical care.

I’m feeling much better now, my fever is gone and my nose is almost clear. I’m one of those lucky babies who recover without complications. But this experience has taught us all some important lessons:

  • Doctors are human and can make mistakes (yes, even the ones who work in the best hospitals in the world)

  • Antibiotics DO NOT kill viruses

  • It’s important to see a doctor when it comes to your baby’s health


Hey, you know what they say: nothing heals a cold like some family love. Whenever I feel miserable and start crying, Coco comes to the rescue and brings me his favorite toy to cheer me up.

As the days went by, my little body put up a good fight and the viruses realized they had no chance against me, so they gave up. Slowly but surely, my laughter and energy came back. And guess what? Science says that my body is stronger now than it was before getting sick, because I built up immunity against those nasty viruses. How cool is that?

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Academic Baby

Disclaimer: Information on is provided for informational purposes only. Our site does not intend to be a substitute for advice provided by a licensed physician, veterinarian or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider right away.



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