Baby: When Your Baby Gets Sick

When Your Baby Gets Sick

Mom & BabyNewborns and infants are susceptible to a number of common health problems. This page will discuss some of these conditions, including when the infant should see a physician. Remember, the health of your child is paramount. Any time you are unsure about the seriousness of a condition, it is better to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician.


Diaper Rash: Diaper rash may be treated without seeing a physician, but you should Consult Your Pharmacist for the best treatment, since some products are unsafe for the baby. Avoid any product not labeled specifically for use in infants, such as veterinary products, adult creams and ointments, hydro-cortisone, and any herbal/alternative therapy. If the skin is broken, it may have become infected with a fungus. Furthermore, if a powder is placed on broken skin, it may impair healing. Rather than self-treating broken skin, you should take the child to a pediatrician.

Teething: Teething causes discomfort for the baby. Your pharmacist can point out safe products, but if your child has any symptom other than oral pain (eg, fever, nasal congestion, diarrhea) these are not normal symptoms of teething and should be checked by a pediatrician promptly to rule out a more serious problem.

Colic: Colic, involving episodic and prolonged bouts of crying, is uncomfortable for the child and those who share the household. The problem is that babies cry for many reasons, some potentially very serious. You should see a pediatrician if you suspect your baby has colic, to find out and to receive some support in handling the condition. Generally, colic lasts more than 3 hours a day, occurs on more than 3 days in any one week, and continues for at least 3 weeks.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea in those under the age of 3 years requires a pediatrician’s care. When younger patients have diarrhea, they are prone to developing life-threatening fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Rather than attempting to self-treat with available anti-diarrheals or electrolyte liquids, you should take the child to a pediatrician.

Constipation: Constipation is a common malady in infants. There is no product for constipation that is safe in those under the age of 2 years. Many parents are tempted to insert infant’s glycerin suppositories, but they should only be used after you have asked the child’s physician for advice. Unfortunately, some children have relatively minor birth defects that cause the constipation, and these must be uncovered quickly and corrected. Your pediatrician can take this into account when advising you.

Common Cold: Babies often suffer common colds and other infectious illnesses, usually acquired from an older sibling who has brought it home from school or day care. No product for cough or nasal congestion is safe for children under the age of 2 years; some should not be used in children under the age of 6 years.

Consult Your Pharmacist for information about products to help relieve the pain of the cold, flu, or sore throat in babies 6 months of age and older.