It has always been a mother’s (or parents’) nightmare if the baby becomes sick. Your baby cannot talk yet. So how will you know if he or she is not feeling well? How will you know which part of your baby’s body hurts?
It is very important for mothers to learn to understand their babies. Study their gestures, actions, facial expressions, and the sounds they make. These things that your babies do mean something. So observe and learn from your baby’s reactions.
The usual sickness of babies is fever and cough. And sometimes diarrhea, and occasional allergies and infections. If your baby becomes sick, do not panic. Find out what is wrong first. Know when to call a doctor or seek emergency assistance for your baby.
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
There are cases when you really need to call your doctor if your baby becomes sick. Below are situations, signs, or symptoms which indicate that a doctor’s help is needed. Although it is normal for babies to get sick, there are cases when you need to call a doctor.
Fever - if your baby is less than 3 months old and has fever, it is advisable to contact your doctor. For babies 3 to 6 months old, a temperature higher than 102◦F (38.9◦C), call a doctor.
For babies 6 to 24 months old, and has a temperature higher than 102◦F (38.9◦C), and the fever is there for more than one day but shows no other symptoms, you should contact your doctor.
If your baby has fever for more than three days, call your doctor. If symptoms like cough, diarrhea, or colds you must contact your doctor immediately, depending on its severity.
Colds – If your baby has symptoms like nasal mucus for more than 10 to 14 days, ear pain, cough for more than a week, and cold that affects breathing, contact your doctor right away.
Vomiting – if baby’s stomach content just drips from the mouth hat is normal. But if it is forceful and shoots out several inches from the mouth, that is vomiting. Contact your doctor is this happens, especially if your baby cannot hold liquid down for at least eight hours.
Rash - contact the doctor if your baby has rashes which appear infected or if your baby suddenly develops an unexplained rash, especially if it's accompanied by a fever.
Behavioural changes – it is advisable to call and inform your doctor about your baby’s changes in behaviour. This happens when your baby is always sleepy, or cries more often and cannot be consoled easily, or if your baby is hard to awaken.
Diarrhea – If your baby’s stools are watery or loose, it is alright to call your doctor.
Constipation – contact your doctor if your baby is constipated, meaning has difficulty with bowel movement and sometimes cannot do so for a few days.
Dehydration – a dry mouth, fewer wet diapers, and fewer tears when your baby cries are signs of dehydration. You must call your doctor as soon as possible.
Changes in appetite - If your baby eats poorly, or refuses several feedings in a row, contact the doctor.
Eye discharge - If one or both eyes are red or leaking mucus, contact the doctor.
Tender navel or penis -if your baby's umbilical area or penis suddenly becomes red or starts to ooze or bleed, you must call the doctor right away.
WHEN TO ASK FOR EMERGENCY CARE
Being prepared for emergencies is a good idea. By asking your doctor what to do in case of emergencies will help a lot to be prepared in advance. Learn basic first aid, and keep emergency numbers handy. You should seek emergency help if the following happens:
- Bleeding that can't be stopped
- Any change in consciousness, confusion, a bad headache or vomiting several times after a head injury
- Skin or lips that look blue, purple or gray
- Increasing or severe persistent pain
- Major mouth or facial injuries
- Increasing difficulty breathing
- Large or deep cuts or burns or smoke inhalation
- Near drowning
- Unconsciousness, acting strangely or becoming more withdrawn and less alert
QUESTIONS YOU WILL POSSIBLY ENCOUNTER
Before you contact your doctor, make sure that you have all vital information ready. Your baby’s medical records must be available and on hand. Having these things ready will save you and your doctor time during emergencies.
When you call your doctor or ask for emergency assistance, be ready to answer questions related to:
- Your baby's symptoms.
- Your baby's medical history.
- Changes in your baby's feeding and bowel movements.
- Changes in your baby's temperature.
- Home remedies and medications.
- Possible exposures.
GIVING YOUR BABY MEDICINES
Give your baby medicines prescribed by the doctor. Self-medication is not advisable. You might give your baby medicines which may do more harm instead of curing your baby’s sickness.
Giving your baby the right medicines in the right way is very important. Otherwise, it will not be effective, and your baby will take longer to be cured or to recover.
Most medicines for babies have pleasant flavors. Giving it to them will not be that much difficult, as they will take it without creating trouble at all. But there are some babies who, despite of the delicious flavors of medicines, make it hard for their mothers to give them medication. All you need to do is to console them. Reassuring them that everything will be alright, cuddling them, can do the trick.
The oral syringes which come with every baby medicine makes it easier for you to give your baby his or her medicines. These syringes also ensure that you give the right dose to your baby. When giving your baby his or her medication, make sure you have all you need ready and the medicines measured in case your baby wiggles.
That’s just about it for caring for your sick baby. Aside from all those tips mentioned above, make sure your baby is comfortable, and loved, not only when he or she is sick, but every day, in any situation.