In the first year of life, babies are prone to many illnesses. The reason is their immune system has just started to develop. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you diagnose fast and get your babies the right treatment. Check out the 5 most common diseases during baby's first year, their symptoms and what you can you do to treat them.
Most common diseases during baby's first year
#1. Common cold
This is the most common illness among babies as there are hundreds of different viruses which could lead to a cold and the baby’s developing system cannot fight them all off.
Symptoms of common cold are:
- a runny nose with a clear, yellowish or greenish mucus
- or a low fever
In general, if the baby continues to feed normally despite a cold, there is nothing to worry about. If the baby gets a high-grade fever, above 101 degrees then it is time to seek medical attention.
What to do in case the baby has a cold?
- Steaming: Inhaling moist, warm air is recommended in case of cold for all ages. For young babies, do not use a traditional steamer as it could lead to scalding. Instead, fill out a bathtub with hot water or run a hot shower to let the bathroom steam and sit in the steaming bathroom for a few minutes with the baby.
- Saline drops can be used for babies who are too young to blow their noses. A saline spray in each nostril will help clear the built-up mucus in his nostrils.
- Warm liquids like dal soup, vegetable or chicken broth can be given to babies who have been introduced to food. These will help in easing congestion.
- If your baby is younger than 3 months, seek immediate medical attention in case of any fever and in slightly older babies, seek medical attention for a high-grade fever of above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
Also Read: 25 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Cold And Cough in Babies & Kids (3 months to 3+ years)
#2. Diarrhea ( Loose Motions)
Every child’s bowel pattern is different. If your child is passing watery stools more frequently than normal, he/she probably have diarrhea. Infants and toddlers suffer from diarrhea because of their delicate constitutions and the fact that their developing immune systems are more susceptible to infections. Their intestines lose more water in case of diarrhea which could lead to quick dehydration.
Symptoms of Diarrhea are:
- Baby’s stool has a watery consistency and baby is passing motion more frequently.
- Watch out for symptoms of dehydration - dry eyes when crying, dry mouth, sunken fontanel. (soft spot on skull)
- Lethargy and disinterest in feeding.
What to do in case your baby has diarrhea?
- Keep your child hydrated. Give them frequent sips of ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution), coconut water or rice water to avoid dehydration in babies.
- Keep a child’s hands and toys clean. Regularly wash the sheets and blankets as children have a tendency to put things in their mouths leading to infections.
- Avoid foods like dairy products, juices, citrus fruits and high-fiber foods during diarrhea.
- Seek immediate medical attention if your baby is below 3 months of age, and for older children if the symptoms of diarrhoea don’t ease in 24 hours.
This is another common ailment faced by children of all ages. Some children might pass stools multiple times a day, while some might do so once in 2-3 days. What is normal for one child might not be normal for another. However, exclusively breastfed babies can go longer without passing stools. There is no need for concern if the baby is not showing any signs of discomfort and is feeding normally.
Also Read: 5 Ways to Make your Baby Burp
Symptoms of Constipation
- Difficulty in passing stool,
- Passing dry and hard stool
- Loss of appetite
- Hard belly
How to ease a baby’s constipation?
- To ease constipation in babies, gently massage below their navels and rotate their legs in a bicycle like motion.
- You could also fold a lying babies legs at the knees and gently press their stomach with their thighs to relieve flatulence and aid bowel movement.
- Hing (asafoetida) is frequently used in Indian homes to relieve constipation. Take a pinch of hing and dissolve it in a teaspoon of warm water. Apply this paste around the baby’s navel to relieve flatulence and aid bowel movement.
- Prune juice is a natural laxative. For babies older than three months , mix no more than one spoon juice in 4 ounces of breast milk or formula, once a day to relieve constipation.
- Seek your pediatrician's advice if your baby is in visible discomfort. However, dependence on any laxative is not advised.
#4. Ear infection
After common cough and cold, ear infections are the most common infections in babies. This is simply because the structure of the Eustachian tube in an infant’s ear is flatter, making it easier for fluid to build up and difficult to air-out the inner ear.
Symptoms of Ear Infection in Babies
- Constantly reaching out for or tugging at the ear.
- Crying when someone else touches the ear.
- Irritability, crankiness and difficulty sleeping.
- Any kind of discharge from the ear or an unpleasant odor from the ear.
What to do in case of an ear infection?
- Consult your paediatrician at the first sign of ear infection. They will prescribe medicine to relieve ear pain and antibiotics only if the baby finds no relief.
- Breastfed babies have a lower incidence of ear infections than formula fed babies. Therefore, it is recommended to breastfeed babies for the first six months at least.
- To ease the baby’s ear pain at home, you could try applying a warm compress to the ear. Also, elevate the baby’s head slightly to help the trapped fluid drain from ears.
- Do not neglect an ear infection as an untreated infection can not only cause the baby acute discomfort but might also rupture the eardrum or cause learning loss.
Also Read: How to identify allergies in children
#5. Diaper Rash
If your baby wears diapers there is a high possibility that he/she will get a diaper rash at some point. Even the best quality diapers do not completely absorb urine and provide a 100% dry experience. The bacteria in urine or stool against the baby’s delicate skin can lead to a diaper rash. To soothe a diaper rash your could use an ointment prescribed by the paediatrician.
Symptoms of Diaper Rash in Babies
- Red, rough or bumpy skin on the baby’s bottom
- Itchiness on affected area
- Baby seems uncomfortable, is fussy and might cry during diaper changes
What to do to prevent a diaper rash?
- Air out the baby’s bottom as frequently as possible. If there is a possibility for the baby to be diaper free, then do so.
- Make sure your baby is completely clean and dry between diaper changes. Avoid the use of heavily scented wipes on the baby’s delicate skin.
- Do not wait till the diaper is uncomfortably full or heavy before changing it. The baby will not communicate a diaper change. You have to assess it yourself.
- When travelling, carry a diaper changing mat/sheet in the baby’s bag so that you can change a soiled baby as quickly as possible. Leaving a soiled diaper on is a quick way to diaper rashes.
Also Read: 8 Home Remedies to treat the diaper Rash in babies
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