What causes infections? There are two kinds of infections that preemies are susceptible to:
- Generalized infection (infection of the blood)
- Localized infections under the skin
Infections are a bigger threat to premature infants because they are less able than full-term infants to fight germs. Infections in babies can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, and can start before birth, near the time of birth, or while the baby is in the nursery.
Are infections dangerous? Most of the time the baby's infection responds rapidly to antibiotics and there are no long-term problems. Long-term problems are more likely if the baby has meningitis, or if she experiences severe low blood pressure for a long period of time.
How are infections treated? Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Other medications are prescribed to treat viral and fungal infections. Frequent hand washing by anyone who comes into contact with your baby will also reduce the risk of infection.