Most new parents feel unprepared in recognising the signs of illness and the severity at which medical attention is required. You don’t want to be calling your pediatrician at the hint of every sniffle, nor do you want to dismiss any symptom as minor in case it is a telltale sign of a bigger issue.
In order to simplify identifying the common ailments that affect babies, we’ve put together a quick guide on the illnesses and symptoms to look out for in the first few months of your little one’s life.
Symptoms include a yellow-tinged discolouration present in the skin and eyes. This can be a natural part of a newborn’s maturation, appearing when the baby is a few days old and phasing out after around 10 days. However, if jaundice occurs within 24 hours of a baby’s life it could be a sign of other medical issues and requires a doctor’s consultation. A doctor’s visit is also needed if jaundice lasts for more than three weeks.
A newborn baby’s skin is sensitive and can present with dryness, spots, discolouration or patchiness. These are common occurrences in the first few weeks after birth and usually clear up without needing any treatment. Products for the skin are not recommended for newborns. If you feel like your child is uncomfortable, always consult your pediatrician for advice before using any kind of remedies.
Colic is an uncomfortable condition that occurs in babies, causing them to fuss and cry in discomfort. There is no definitive cause for the condition and experts speculate a range of reasons, including trapped wind, hunger, acid reflux, formula intolerances, a breastfeeding mother’s diet, among other things. The bottom line: colic is unlikely to be something you can foresee or prevent, and it does not mean that your baby is unhealthy. It generally peaks when a baby is around six weeks old and eases at around three to nine months. This period can be overwhelming for parents as babies with colic tend to be extremely fussy and need constant attention and holding. Make sure you get help whenever possible to ease the strain and consult your healthcare provider for ways to ease your baby’s discomfort and your feelings of worry.
Nappy rash is a common occurrence in newborns and babies that presents as red areas on your baby’s behind. The skin can sometimes feel warmer than usual. More severe cases could be uncomfortable for babies and result in bumps or blisters. The causes can range from skin irritation due to certain detergents, bath or hygiene products, to a baby laying in a soiled diaper for a long period. Taking extra care by more regular changing and using chemical-free detergents and baby products usually clears up nappy mild rash in a matter of days. Your doctor or a pharmacist can usually recommend a special cream to treat it if it is more serious.
Preventable Viral & Bacterial Infections
Viruses and bacteria can cause a range of illnesses to babies with symptoms that can range from uncomfortable to downright dangerous. Diseases such as chickenpox, measles, influenza and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis are all contractible and can potentially have negative long-term consequences should complications arise. Fortunately, these illnesses are all preventable through a standard immunization schedule. It is imperative to follow the schedule for vaccines provided by your doctor to protect your infant from these diseases.
This list is meant to guide parents on the most typical manifestations of illnesses in newborns. However, if you feel that your child is ill it is always best to consult your pediatrician in case medical intervention is needed. Doctors understand the worry and anxiety that parents to young children experience so do not hesitate to get in touch if you are unsure of the severity of your baby’s illness.
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