Fevers are very common in babies. A baby has a fever when their body temperature rises above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius reading from a thermometer. Fevers are actually a good sign at times; they are an indication that the baby’s body is fighting an infection when they occur.
Whenever a baby has an infection in the body, the body will get into defense mode and try to eliminate the cause of the infection. Microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa are the most common culprits. Most microbes survive within a limited range of temperature and are therefore likely to succumb to high temperatures. Think of it this way, people boil water to get rid of germs, therefore, the body will also attempt to ‘boil’ itself to get rid of germs as well.
However, to be fair, microorganisms are not the only ones that cause illnesses. Numerous sources can be the cause of diseases, and the brain will not trigger a fever in these scenarios. For example, a baby might take their milk too quickly and in the process swallow a lot of air, this can cause an unsettling feeling in their tummy. The baby will not develop a fever in this instance, however, they may have lots of gas and a stomachache, which is a form of illness.
The little one should return to their jovial self once the body eliminates the problem. In any case, moms should watch out for fever as well as these signs and symptoms and take appropriate action.
Oftentimes, babies cry when they are hungry, sleepy, tired, sick, or in need of a diaper change. If mom attends to all of these needs and the baby is still inconsolable then this could be an indication that he or she is sick or coming down with a disease.
As explained by WebMD, persistent crying could mean that a baby is teething, has an infection, stomach upset or colic. When babies are sick, their cry is usually different. If mom is not able to pinpoint what exactly is wrong, she should take the baby to the doctor. Inconsolable crying is a sign that deserves rapid evaluation because the baby is in great discomfort.
Another sign that a baby might be unwell is his or her refusal to eat or nurse. A mom or caregiver who is always with the baby should know how much the child eats in a day and if this changes drastically then it could be a sign of sickness.
If the baby is weaning, moms can try giving different foods; if the baby refuses to eat completely then there could be another underlying issue. As stated by kellymom.com, babies may refuse to eat when sick particularly if they have a sore throat or ear infection; they may feel pain when swallowing. Fortunately, babies usually go back to their normal feeding routines when they get better.
Babies occasionally spit up but there are cases when vomit comes out of the stomach as a forceful projectile rather than a dribble from the mouth. This could be a sign that the baby is sick. However, if the baby vomits once or twice it could also be nothing major, they might have eaten something that did not settle well.
According to yourmd.com, if the vomiting is frequent, then the baby could have gastroenteritis, an infection of the gut caused by a virus or bacteria or something even more serious like meningitis. Sometimes diarrhea can accompany vomiting. When this is the case, it is always safe for moms to call the doctor.
Moms should always monitor their baby’s bowel movements when changing their diapers. If the baby’s waste is frequent and watery, it could be an indication that the baby has a stomach bug. A change of bowel color is also evidence that something is wrong especially if it has no relationship with something the baby has eaten.
Babies generally have diarrhea when they have an infection, stomach bug, have trouble digesting certain foods, or are taking in too many fluids, as pointed out by MedicineNet. If the diarrhea is nonstop, moms should always consult with a physician for advice otherwise the loss of fluid is sure to lead to dehydration.
Dehydration is a sure sign that babies are not well. Babies have small bodies, which can easily lose fluids. Moms can identify dehydration in their babies when they appear to have dry lips and mouth, pale skin, tearless cries, and pass dark yellow urine.
A sunken fontanelle, which is the soft spot on the baby’s head, could also be an indication of dehydration. According to dripdrop.com, dehydration occurs when the baby’s body loses water and nutrients faster than it can replace them. This commonly happens when the baby is fighting illnesses that are depleting his or her body fluids. Moms should take the baby to the doctor in this case.
Babies are born with sensitive skin so occasionally when they come across an irritant they may spot a rash. The most common types of rashes are heat rash or diaper rash. These do not spread quickly and usually subside without treatment. However, there are times when a rash can refuse to go away and even turn red as stated by WebMD.
Rashes that appear out of nowhere look infected and spread quickly could be serious. These types of rashes can be a sign of a serious infection and the baby might have to see the doctor immediately. Other times, allergies or fungi could cause rashes and this is the reason it is important for a doctor to determine what kind of rash the baby has.
Babies are usually prone to colds because they have low immunity. This is why moms should always handle them with care. However, during the cold seasons, getting a cold or flu is sometimes inevitable. If the baby shows signs of a running nose, loss of appetite, and coughing, they're probably coming down with the flu, as medicinenet.com confirms.
Sometimes, wheezing can accompany the cough and cold; this could mean that the baby has either asthma or an infection. If a baby is struggling to breathe because of a cold, the mom can put for her saline drops to thin out phlegm and suction it using an aspirator.
One of the most obvious signs that a baby is sick is a change in behavior. If a mom notices that her baby is eating less, sleeping more, crying unusually, or has less energy level, she should not ignore these signs instead she should closely monitor the baby.
According to aboutkidshealth.com, when babies sleep longer than usual it means they have little or no energy. If they are struggling to wake up even after long naps or are, finding it difficult to stay alert then they might be unwell. Others can become extra fussy, which is also an indication of an illness present, and moms should call the doctor right away.
If for a few consecutive days, a baby seems to have few bowel movements than usual and appears to be struggling or is uncomfortable, then chances are he or she may be sick. The most common cause of this is constipation. Since babies have weak abdominal muscles, they can sometimes strain them during bowel movements and this can lead to constipation.
Parents can solve this by changing the baby’s meal plan. Doctors can suggest adding water or a bit of apple, prune, or pear juice to the baby’s meal plan, according to mayoclinic.com. However, there are cases when constipation is continuous and accompanied by belly pain or vomiting. When this happens, mom or a caregiver should take the baby for a check-up.
Moms should always be on the lookout for any skin changes in their little ones. Blueness, yellowness, and pale skin could be a sign that the baby is sick. Sometimes babies may have blue skin around their face or lips accompanied by less feeding and breathing difficulties. This could be a sign that the baby’s hearts or lungs are not working properly, as pointed out by familydoctor.com.
Yellow discoloration of their skin and eyes could be an indication that the liver is not working as it should be, this condition is called jaundice. If such signs are noted, moms should definitely rush their babies to the hospital.
Sometimes babies may have trouble swallowing food. If this begins suddenly, then the baby could have something stuck in his or her esophagus and a doctor should perform an endoscopy. However, if baby spit foods, refuses to eat, and drools excessively, then something else is the matter.
They could have severe swelling in the throat, a throat infection, a compressed esophagus, tonsils or other underlying problems. When the baby’s symptoms continue for a long while, mom should take the baby to see a doctor because it could greatly affect their feeding. Doctors can do tests and x-rays to determine the root cause, according to advancedpediatricassociates.com.
A range of conditions can result in a baby's stool appearing reddish, probably the result of plasma staining. Some reasons are not alarming while others may require medical attention. Either way, moms should constantly monitor their baby’s stool. Sometimes what might look like off-putting liquids could be food that the baby ate. Babies have immature digestive systems which at times may not digest the food all the way, as stated by verywellfamily.com.
In serious cases, the baby could be allergic to certain foods, which cause inflammation and cause them to pass stained poop. This could also be an indication of intestinal infections. If the color continues to appear in the stool, moms should seek advice from the doctor.
Babies’ abdomens should feel soft in between feedings. In cases where they feel swollen or hard, the baby could be sick. Babies have no way of letting moms know that they have a stomach ache; however, they can show signs of a tummy ache by crying persistently, arching their backs, pulling their legs to the chest area and passing out lots of gas.
As revealed by MedicineNet, a stomachache could be a sign of intestinal problems, reflux, gas pain or constipation. If it persists, moms should give the doctor a call. Remedies vary depending on the root cause.
Sweating is a common thing, but excessive sweating means that something is not right. When a baby sweats excessively—especially when eating—they may have congenital heart disease, diabetes, an infection, or something else. Excessive sweating also means that the baby is overheating which could lead to SIDS.
According to BabyCenter, if a parent has not overdressed or bundled the baby up, and the room temperature is cool, then the problem is not the environment but the baby, he or she could be unwell. There are treatment options available to manage excessive sweating in babies and mom should explore these with a doctor.
Sometimes babies can wake up at night and start crying and moms have no way of knowing or pinpointing what could be causing them to cry. However, according to unitypoint.com, there are signs that could steer them in the right direction. If the little one is crying a lot, tugging at the ear, and has liquid draining out of their ears, then they probably has an ear infection.
Ear infections are very common in babies who are between six months and two years old. Most ear infections go away after a couple of days, but if there is no change, a doctor can advise on a treatment plan.
When some babies are coming down with an illness, they usually become inactive and look tired or sleepy, as stated by babysleepsite.com. Babies sleep a lot, however, when moms notice that their babies are struggling to stay awake and active even after a long nap, then something is not right. They may also not have enough energy to cry which means they want to slug off in order to fight the illness.
If this sign persists, the baby should see a doctor for examination. Doctors can check for a stomach bug, infection, or cold and in worse cases heart conditions or other disorders. Treatment will depend on what is causing the problem.
Teething is high on the list of most parents’ least favorite thing. According to MedicineNet, when babies start teething, usually between six months and a year, they will often show a number of symptoms similar to the common cold. Aside from excess drooling, the baby will cry a lot, be fussy, have a running nose, cough, wake up frequently at night, lose their appetite, and take short naps.
When moms notice these signs, they can soothe their babies by gently massaging their gums with a clean finger. They can also give them something cool to chew on. If the baby is extremely uncomfortable, the doctor can prescribe meds that can ease the discomfort.
If the whites of a baby’s eyes and the insides of the lower lid become red, then the baby probably has an eye infection, an allergic reaction, or a more serious condition. The most common eye infection is the pinkeye, which comes together with inflammation, pain, and itchiness, according to healthychildren.com.
Sometimes pus, teary eyes, blurry vision, and swelling can accompany eye infections. Eye infections require immediate medical attention; doctors can prescribe an antibiotic eye drop or an eye ointment. They are also very contagious. Therefore, moms should always be careful when handling the infected eye. They should wash their hands prior to and immediately after touching the area.
Soon after giving birth, moms should constantly monitor how heavy they are getting, their intake of milk/formula/food, and the number of wet diapers. If a baby is constantly losing pounds or is experiencing faltering growth then this could be a sign of sickness especially if the baby is feeding adequately and has enough wet diapers.
According to uptodate.com, a decrease in pounds in infants could be a sign that the baby has severe dehydration from acute gastroenteritis. This illness can be fatal and proper treatment should be sort immediately. Other causes of inconsistent growth include milk protein allergy, malnutrition, bouts of illnesses, and an inability to thrive.
Sometimes babies may show unusual signs when they are sick. For example, they may have body stiffness, make jerky movements, roll their eyes, and sometimes black out. All these are signs of a convulsion as pointed out by raisingchildren.com. Most babies get to a febrile convulsion between six months and six years old.
A rapid rise in body temperature is what causes convulsions. When this happens, moms should remove any object near the baby that is likely to harm them and when the convulsion is over place them in a soft surface and in the recovery position. Thereafter, they can take them to the hospital.
Sources: webmd.com, kellymom.com, your.md, medicinenet.com, dripdrop.com, aboutkidshealth.ca, familydoctor.org, verywellfamily.com, babycenter.com, unitypoint.org, babysleepsite.com, healthychildren.org, uptodate.com, raisingchildren.net.au, advancedpediatricassociates.com