Infants require more specialised care, especially when they get ill. After all, their undeveloped immune systems can leave them highly vulnerable to diseases. This can make it quite challenging and frightening for first-time parents to treat their sick babies. If your baby exhibits any strange symptoms, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

Generally speaking, it is best to immediately bring a sick child to a hospital or call a home doctor for a consultation. But if you don’t have immediate access to health care facilities, it would be best to learn what to do in emergency situations to prevent complications. That said, here are some common health issues that you should watch out for:

Fever

While a fever isn’t a disease per se, it can mean that your baby’s body is fighting off an infection. Infants are particularly susceptible to bacteria since they’re fond of putting dirty objects into their mouths. However, infections may also occur in the ears or urinary tract if colds are left untreated or if diapers are infrequently changed.

A baby’s normal body temperature is usually around 36.4°C. A reading of 38°C or higher is considered a fever. This spike in temperature can be managed by performing a lukewarm sponge bath, giving the correct dosage of fever medications, and increasing your baby’s milk or fluid intake. But if your baby’s temperature peaks at 38.9°C or if they exhibit symptoms such as rashes, vomiting, or diarrhea, it is highly advised that you seek the help of a paediatrician.

Cold

During their first year of life, it’s normal for infants to get at least eight or more colds. Since their immune systems are still weak, their bodies are more easily invaded by cold viruses. Common symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and a reduced appetite.

A simple cold doesn’t need to be treated with medications since the cold virus goes away on its own. But there are a few ways you can help ease your child’s breathing. You can suction your baby’s nose using a rubber-bulb syringe and let the baby drink more milk or fluid to thin the mucus. But if your baby is also experiencing fever symptoms, laboured breathing, wheezing, or vomiting, it will be best to consult a doctor.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea often occur together. It’s not unusual for babies to have a single episode of vomiting and watery stool, and is usually nothing to worry about. But if the condition persists, make sure that your baby is getting enough fluids and nutrition. Otherwise, your baby may suffer from dehydration.

If your baby is already eating solid foods, you can continue their usual diet and lots of milk or water. You can also give your baby oral rehydration salts which are available in most pharmacies. If your baby vomits, wait at least five minutes before offering fluids again.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. This can be very dangerous for infants, as it could lead to serious complications such as seizures, shock due to blood loss, and even death.

Your baby may be at risk for dehydration if they exhibit frequent vomiting and watery stools. And if your baby starts showing clear signs of dehydration, such as sleepiness, listlessness, and having sunken eyes or soft spots on his head, you should immediately rush to the hospital.

Treating dehydration depends on the severity of your baby’s condition. The doctor may administer oral rehydration therapy or intravenous fluids. They may also advise you to do frequent breastfeeding, formula milk supplementation, oral rehydration salts, and continuous monitoring of fluid intake and output.

 

Sometimes, seemingly simple symptoms may be a warning for serious health issues. If you can’t immediately reach a health care provider, knowing how to care for your sick infant can save his or her life. As a parent, always trust your gut. When it comes to your baby’s health, don’t hesitate to call a doctor for help.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "4 Infant Health Issues Parents Should Watch Out For," in Medicalopedia, March 4, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8430/4-infant-health-issues-parents-should-watch-out-for/].