Adults and children have the benefit of being able to communicate to those around them when they’re not feeling well, but infants unfortunately lack this ability. Sickness can be much more serious for babies as well, which compounds the problem for both children and their parents. Having weak and underdeveloped immune systems, babies are more vulnerable to illness than we are, and need to be adequately protected. Look for these tell-tale signs that your baby may be sick if you suspect that something is amiss.
A fever is not an illness in and of itself–rather, it is one of the body’s most reliable defense mechanisms against sickness and infection. If you notice your baby is running a fever, it may be a sign that he or she is fighting off an infection, which could be a cause for legitimate concern. Slight fevers are not uncommon in infants, but temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit may warrant a trip to the doctor.
Infants have very sensitive skin, and symptoms of illness can sometimes manifest themselves as rashes that would not be as common in older children and adults. Skin irritations may be caused by anything from diet to bacteria or viral infection. If you are noticing unusual skin conditions, aside from preventable diaper rash, it would be prudent to get in touch with your physician. Some rashes, such as eczema, do not present immediate health concerns but are extremely uncomfortable and can lead to excessive scratching.
This can be a somewhat dubious symptom due to the fact that infants are so adept at spitting up that it almost seems like a game to them. However, there is a distinct difference between spitting up and vomiting. Spitting up is typically a symptom of nothing more than a full stomach. However, a baby that is vomiting is more likely having trouble digesting food. This is usually an indicator of a more serious problem and can lead to malnutrition which will exacerbate an illness.
No one knows your baby’s eating habits better than you, so you should take note right away if there are any significant changes in the child’s eating habits. Slight variations are usually no cause for concern. However, if the infant is consistently turning down feedings or is constantly hungry, you should be aware and call your doctor if necessary. Be sure not to panic–many parents have a tendency to diagnose their babies with everything under the sun as soon as one symptom appears. Just get in touch with your physician and follow his or her instructions.
Like most significant symptoms, difficulty breathing is something that is best diagnosed and handled by your doctor. Infants do sometimes stop breathing for no reason–really, no one can explain it. However, wheezing, rapid breathing and other abnormalities should be addressed by a professional. Expect to be making lots of doctor visits during the first few months, and look into resources like Medical to look for better plans if your current insurance isn’t offering enough coverage.