As a parent, it can be difficult to determine if your baby is sick or not. However, recognizing the signs of illness in your baby is crucial in ensuring they receive proper medical care. Here's what you need to know about how to tell if your baby is sick and what signs to look for in a healthy baby:
Signs That Your Baby May Be Sick
- Fever: A temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in babies under 3 months old, or a temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher in babies 3 to 6 months old, can indicate a fever.
- Coughing: A persistent cough can be a sign of an illness, such as a cold or flu.
- Runny nose: A runny nose can be a sign of a cold, flu, or other respiratory infection.
- Sneezing: Sneezing can be a sign of an allergy or cold.
- Vomiting: Repeated vomiting can indicate an illness, such as gastroenteritis or a stomach virus.
- Diarrhea: Loose stools can be a sign of an illness, such as gastroenteritis or a stomach virus.
- Irritability: A baby that is fussier than usual or has trouble sleeping may be indicating they are feeling sick.
- Loss of appetite: A decrease in the amount of food or liquids a baby is consuming can be a sign they are not feeling well.
Signs Of A Healthy Baby
- Alertness: A healthy baby should be alert and interested in their surroundings.
- Normal temperature: A healthy baby's body temperature should be between 97°F (36.1°C) and 100.4°F (38°C).
- Regular breathing: A healthy baby should have regular, consistent breathing.
- Normal color: A healthy baby should have a normal skin color, with a pink or rosy tint.
- Wet diapers: A healthy baby should have at least six to eight wet diapers per day.
- Healthy appetite: A healthy baby should have a healthy appetite, and be feeding regularly.
- Good sleep patterns: A healthy baby should be sleeping and waking up at regular intervals, and have a total of 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day.
Remedies for Common Illnesses
Because babies are delicate and susceptible to a range of common illnesses, such as the flu, colds, ear infections, and stomach viruses. It can be challenging for parents to know how to best care for their sick baby, but there are several treatments that can provide relief. Here are the best treatments for babies when they are sick from common illnesses:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medicine: For minor symptoms like a runny nose, cough, or fever, OTC medicine like acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) can be given to babies older than 6 months according to the dosing instructions on the label. Always consult with a pediatrician before giving any medicine to a baby.
- Humidifiers: A humidifier can help to soothe a congested baby and relieve symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. The moist air can also help to keep the mucus in the baby's airways moist, making it easier to cough up.
- Hydration: It is important to keep babies hydrated, especially when they are sick. Offer them plenty of fluids, like water, breast milk, or formula, to help prevent dehydration.
- Rest: Encourage your baby to get plenty of rest to help their body recover from the illness. This means avoiding playdates and other activities that could make the baby's symptoms worse.
- Cleanliness: Keeping the baby's environment clean can help prevent the spread of germs. This means washing your hands often and cleaning toys, surfaces, and bedding regularly.
- Antibiotics: If your baby has a bacterial infection, like an ear infection, they may need antibiotics. Your pediatrician can determine if antibiotics are necessary and can prescribe the appropriate treatment.
- Vapor rubs: For congestion, vapor rubs can be applied to the chest, neck, and back to help relieve symptoms. However, it is essential to avoid using vapor rubs on babies younger than 2 years old as they can be dangerous.
Without a doubt these treatments can provide relief for babies suffering from common illnesses. However, it is important to always consult with a pediatrician before beginning any treatment to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your baby. By being aware of the signs of illness and what constitutes a healthy baby, you can quickly determine if your baby needs medical attention.