Whether you’re a new parent or seasoned grandparent, it can be scary taking care of a sick infant. They can’t verbalize their ailments, and it hurts to watch them in pain. The great news is that the Internet makes it easy to get some of your common questions answered, and that’s our goal today as we cover some tips on caring for your sick infant.
1. Fever Phobia
When your baby is running a fever, it can be easy to panic. After all, this can be very serious. However, if your child’s temperature is less than 100.4° F, you can typically treat them at home. Administration of proper dosages of infant’s Tylenol, undressing, and provision of tepid water can often do the trick.
If the fever persists beyond 48-72 hours, a trip to the doctor is in order.
A Few Tips on Treating Fever
There are a number ailments your infant will face, and you still have a long road ahead. One of the most common you’ll need to get comfortable with is treating fever. While you can learn from your own mistakes, it’s better to learn from others and save yourself the pain. Here are some common mistakes when it comes to treating fever that you should be aware of:
- A temperature of 99° F doesn’t usually warrant administration of medication.
- Don’t treat infants under 6 months with Advil (generic names – Ibuprofen, Motrin). Infant Tylenol is the preferred fever reducer for infants 6 months and under.
- Never give your infant aspirin as this can put them at risk of Reye syndrome.
- Understand proper dosage. It’s very common or parents to under-dose and over-dose their children. Ask your doctor for a chart to use to ensure you’re dosing correctly.
2. Dealing with the Common Cold
If you’re a new parent dealing with the common cold, keep this in mind: your child will get the cold six to eight times every year, so this is something you’ll want to understand how to deal with.
When dealing with an infant, there are a few tips to follow that can alleviate symptoms and promote improvement:
- You may give your baby infant’s Tylenol to reduce fever.
- Use a humidifier in the child’s room since dry air only makes congestion worse.
- Steam up the bathroom and sit with baby for 15 minutes to loosen up mucous. Use of nasal saline and suction with bulb will remove mucous to help your baby breath better.
- Encourage fluid intake with breast milk or formula.
3. Treating Ear Infections
Ear infections can cause a high degree of discomfort and irritation. The trouble with diagnosis is that it’s very common for sleepy babies to tug at their ears. Sleepy babies can also be cranky and seeing these two signs together may lead you to believe an ear infection is the culprit.
Doctors like to avoid overuse of antibiotics, and it’s very common for ear infections to clear up on their own. If your infant is tugging at his or her ears and is suffering with other symptoms like a stuffy nose and/or fever, an evaluation by your baby’s doctor may be warranted.
Keep in mind that ear infections, when left untreated, can lead to serious issues like ruptured ear drums and hearing loss. While Tylenol can relieve the pain until the infection is diagnosed, symptoms lasting longer than a few days should be evaluated by a doctor.
4. Dealing with Diarrhea
It can be easy to get caught up with factors of hygiene when it comes to diarrhea in infants. After all, you want to keep your baby clean. However, the primary concern when you infant is losing so much water is dehydration.
There are many different potential causes of diarrhea. Just a few of these include:
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Food intolerances
A bout of diarrhea can last anywhere from 48 hours to 10 days. During this time, you should ensure your infant is intaking plenty of fluids. This is especially important if the child is also vomiting. When this is the case, provide the child with frequent sips of fluids (water or Pedialyte) or frequent nursing/formula.
This remedy typically works well unless there is blood in the stool and/or your baby has a fever. At this point, you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor. If diarrhea has lasted longer than 3 days, consider seeing your baby’s doctor.
When It’s Time to See a Doctor Immediately
There are a number of symptoms that can be addressed at home. However, for certain cases, delaying professional care only makes the problem worse. Just a few signs that it’s time to see a doctor now include:
- Baby is not feeding.
- Baby is making unusual noises while breathing or during sleep.
- Baby is under three months old with a fever over 100.4° F.
- Baby is over three months old with a fever over 102° F.
- Baby has sustained a fever longer than 72 hours.
- Baby has a cough that causes vomiting and/or has lasted longer than 72 hours.
- Baby is exhibiting extreme irritability or lethargy.
- These are all signs that it’s time to get your baby seen by a doctor. Prime Urgent Care is a full-service urgent care clinic in Pearland, TX, and we have the tools and experience to get your sick infant back to their happy, bouncy self.