6 Normal (but Alarming) Baby Health Issues

When Should Baby See a Doctor for Upper Respiratory Infections, Ear Infections, and Stomach Viruses?

Dr. Danielson weighs in on the most common maladies of baby's first year. Here's when to wait it out and when to see a doctor.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Watch and wait if baby has a cough, increasing congestion, fever for one to two days, fussiness, or poor appetite. Ease congestion with a humidifier or a nasal aspirator, or by raising the head of the crib mattress (place a pillow underneath the mattress).

Visit the doc if fever lasts past the third day, if baby doesn't have any "up" periods when her mood is better, or if she won't drink. These symptoms may indicate a secondary infection such as a sinus infection or bacterial pneumonia.

Ear Infection

Watch and wait if you notice fussiness, fever, trouble sleeping, or pulling at the ear that lasts for one to three days following congestion or an upper respiratory infection.

Visit the doc if these symptoms last for more than three days or if baby seems to be in severe pain and younger than 6 months. Doctors prefer to let baby's immune system fight an ear infection at first, but antibiotics may be in order if he isn't better after three days.

Stomach Virus

Watch and wait if baby is fussy, has a fever for a day or two, vomits for one to two days, or has diarrhea that starts after the first or second day. As long as your baby is getting fluids and urinating consistently, she'll be fine without solids for a few days.

Visit the doc if vomiting or fever lasts more than two days, if baby doesn't want to drink, if she goes for six hours or more without urinating, or if there's blood in her stool. Your baby might have a serious infection such as salmonella or E. coli, which may require treatment with an antibiotic. And if she is seriously dehydrated, she may need IV fluids.

Originally published in the June 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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