5 Things you need to get baby through cold and flu season

Summer has officially come to a close and while most of us are enjoying these cool, sunny days and dreaming about pumpkin spice lattes and apple pie, soon it will be time to face the reality of cold and flu season. And when you have a young baby, you'll need to be prepared for the inevitable bout of illness.

Here's our list of essential items for cold and flu season, and one that you should avoid at all costs:

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1. Tylenol or any Baby Acetaminophen. Infant Tylenol is the one drug that is routinely recommended for small babies, and you should always have some on hand. It can help bring down a fever and ease aches and pains associated with common illnesses.

2. Saline spray. In most cases, it is not recommended that you give infants "cold and flu" medications. Instead pediatricians recommend using saline nasal spray or drops to help loosen up and expel mucous that is clogging the nasal passages. It's a simple solution of salt and water that can be used several times a day without any side effects.

3. Bulb syringe. The snot sucker, it's a nasty if not intimidating tool, but veteran parents will tell you it's crucial to have in your arsenal. If used properly, it can help you quickly and easily remove mucous so that your little one can breathe more freely. But be warned, most babies don't enjoy the process.

4. Cool-mist humidifier. A humidifier will help keep your baby's nasal passages and throat from drying out and adding to his or her discomfort. Just make sure to purchase the appropriate size for baby's room and to clean it often, to avoid the growth of mold and bacteria that can exacerbate health problems.

5. Soft wash cloths. I've been an allergy sufferer long enough to know that even the most lotiony soft tissues can't stop a truly stuffy, runny nose from becoming raw and irritated after repeated wipes. I prefer to use an ultra-soft baby wash cloth for my little guy. Though I don't think it will eliminate discomfort completely, I do think it'll take a little longer to start irritating his sensitive skin.

And one you don't need and should never do: Don't ever, ever give a baby honey. It's true that honey is great for soothing a sore throat and in most cases it's proven to be just as effective as cough medicine, but it is very dangerous for babies younger than the age of one. Honey may contain bacteria that cause botulism. Although this does not present a problem for older babies, children and adults, with more mature digestive systems, it can be fatal to infants.

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Topics: baby  parents and children