Being a new parent brings a lot of happiness and excitement to your life. However, for every moment of excitement comes moments of worry too, especially if you’ve never had a baby under your care before.
When your baby is sick, it can get pretty scary. It is not always easy to know if your child is sick. A lot of times it is hard to tell the difference a real sickness and an upset stomach.
How often babies get sick may vary. Babies in daycare may get sick a lot because they are more exposed to germs at a young age. To make things harder, babies who are under six months who get sick cannot talk to you and tell what is wrong.
Knowing what signs to look for can help calm the panic so that you can decide if it is serious enough to take your baby to the pediatrician.
Fever is not an illness, but the baby’s response to an illness, particularly an infection. If your infant is less than three months old and is suffering from a rectal temperature of above 100.4 Fahrenheit or if the baby is between three to six months and has a temperature of above 101 Fahrenheit, call the doctor immediately. Even if the temperature is lower than these, contact your pediatrician if your child is showing signs of rashes, irritability, trouble breathing, poor feeding, stiff neck, persistent vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration or lethargy.
If the baby is feeding poorly, suffering from a fever, is in a too warm environment or has persistent diarrhea and vomiting, dehydrating can happen. If your baby has a dry mouth and gums, sheds no tears when crying, wets the diaper less frequently, and if the fontanel or the soft spot on top of the head appears to sink slightly, your baby is suffering from dehydration.
Diarrhea is common in infants. If there is blood in the baby’s stool, which may appear bright red or in more serious cases, black, is not taking fluids, showing signs of dehydration, and has more than six watery stools a day, call the doctor immediately.
Babies commonly spit up, but frequent vomiting is a concern. Vomiting may not be serious if it happens once or twice. However, if it happens more frequently and it already contains good or is in green in color or if the baby looks dehydrated after vomiting, it is time to take your baby to the doctor.
Redness and Bleeding
When the baby’s navel or penis is turning red, is oozing or bleeding, this is a sign of an infection.
Rashes are common in infants, but if the rash covers a large area of the baby’s body especially the face or it is accompanied by a fever, bleeding or swelling, or if the rash looks infected, get in touch with the doctor.
Crying is a baby’s only means of communicating. If the baby has become irritable, fretful or fussy with long periods of crying, he or she may be ill or in pain. The baby may also become jittery and start to tremble. Irritability is a sign that your baby is suffering from abdominal pain, constipation, earache or viral infection.
If the baby is breathing much more rapidly than usual, grunts while inhaling or head is bobbing, your baby is having trouble breathing. Children’s lips are naturally pink and if the infant is developing a bluish tinge on the lips and skin, it is a sign to evaluate his or her breathing.
Lethargic babies have little to no energy. They sleep longer than usual and may be difficult to wake for feedings. Once they are awake, they are sluggish and drowsy, not alert, and pays little to no attention. Lethargy may be a sign of common infection like colds, influenza or meningitis. It can develop slowly over time and it may be difficult to recognize.
Upper respiratory infections are caused by a virus and it is very common in babies. Colds usually last one to two weeks and are often associated with fever, runny nose, poor appetite, and cough. However, if your infant is less than three months old and is suffering from a rectal temperature of above 100.4 Fahrenheit or if the baby is between three to six months and has a temperature of above 101 Fahrenheit, has a rash, experiencing difficulty in breathing or is usually fussy and cries a lot, call your doctor immediately.