The first time a baby gets sick can be a trying time for new parents. They may panic and take their baby to the hospital, especially if the baby is running a fever. Most of the time there is nothing to be concerned about because babies get sick; it is perfectly natural. However, it is good to know what to do if your baby gets ill.
Running a Fever
A fever isn’t an illness unto itself. It is usually the sign of another underlying problem like an ear infection, the flu, teething, or a reaction to a vaccination. The typical signs of a fever include flushed skin, skin that feels warm or hot, crankiness, and lethargy. Generally, low-grade fevers, which are those of 38°C or below, are usually no cause for concern.
Undress the baby and bathe it in tepid water. Give plenty of fluids and Paracetamol for babies to help reduce the fever. Call your baby’s paediatrician if your child is two months or under with any low-grade fever, if a low-grade fever lasts more than three days, if your toddler under one has a fever of 39° C, or if an older child is running a fever of 40°C.
Care for a Cold
The winter and fall months can be hard on children because it is when they will usually fall victim to a cold. Most young children catch a cold six to eight times a year, and their symptoms may include sniffling, sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, and sometimes a fever. A cold usually builds for two to three days and reaches its peak within three to five days before subsiding.
Make sure your baby stays hydrated by nursing, or with water or a drink with electrolytes in it if your child is older. Elevate the head of the child’s mattress slightly to help their sinuses drain. Use a humidifier when your child sleeps, and avoid giving your child cough or cold medicines. Call the paediatrician for newborns who have a cold or if your child has a high fever.
Care for the Flu
The flu virus easily moves from child to child or circulates quickly within a family. A baby who comes down with the flu may be very cranky, not wanting to play, and refusing to eat. A fever will usually develop, along with a runny nose, a cough, and fever, which can last three to seven days. Use the same care protocol for a cold and watch for any signs of breathing or coughing problems.
Call your doctor if your baby is a newborn and has flu symptoms, or if your child’s symptoms don’t ease after about five days. To help prevent bouts of the flu, have any child over the age of six months vaccinated for it.
If you know what to look for and how to treat your baby when they are sick, you can help them get better faster and you will worry less.