Tackling the common ailments that newborns often experience within few days of their birth is perhaps the first challenging step of parenting. Although most of the ailments get cured of their own, still these are enough to disrupt the joyful mood of the parents.
Newborns have to undergo an adjusting phase with the new conditions in the initial days of their life, and these common ailments are mere outcomes of this phase. Instead of panicking and fretting, parents should immediately reach out for the pediatrician for required treatment. The physician, not parents should decide the necessity of medication in such cases.
Though most of the ailments get cured naturally, but it would be a mistake for parents to consider the same to happen in every case. Premature babies and babies born from critical labor conditions are susceptible to various ailments. Some full term babies are born with congenital, hereditary and neo natal diseases, which are not apparent in the initial months of their birth.
Many states in US are adopting newborn screening tests for early detection of any disorder that may affect the normal development of the newborn in the future. It is the sole discretion of the parents whether to go for newborn screening tests or not.
A brief synopsis of the common diseases of a newborn will help the parents in timely identifying the ailment at the right time and prevent them from panicking.
In some newborns, fluids accumulate in the middle ears providing suitable conditions for breeding of germs. Fluid accumulation can also result from sudden cold causing pain in the ears. Mild ear infections get cured without any treatment, but medication is must in severe cases. The surroundings of the newborn should be kept clean free from dust and allergens to prevent fluid accumulation in the ears.
This is one of the common diseases of newborn and seldom requires medication. This occurs mainly when the newborns are underfed or start taking formula milk substitute. Loss of appetite may result in under feeding that prevents stool formation. Formula feeding leads to harder stools and newborns experience pain during defecation. Physician consultation is necessary if this persists for long.
Parents must be cautious enough to prevent their newborns from diarrhea. Severe diarrhea with excessive passing of watery stools leads to dehydration in children, and lack of timely treatment may prove fatal. Mouth of the newborn turns dry followed by scanty or no urination. This situation calls for immediate treatment. Diarrhea, observed mostly in newborns and children are caused from contaminated food and water. Drinking water should be free from germs and the feeding utensils should be sterilized regularly.
This is one of the common diseases of newborn usually observed from first to six months after birth. Prolonged crying of the newborns with clenched fists and legs drawn towards chest, abdominal bloating and distension are the symptoms of this disease.
The newborns experience intense pain at night after the meal due to their tender digestive system. Newborns fed with formula food generally suffer from Colic. Colic can also result from mother’s milk due to some wrong food intake by the nursing mother. Gripe water and homeopathic medicines are widely administered for the treatment. Always use FDA recommended gripe water for your newborn.
Newborns are susceptible to seasonal changes in the initial months of their life that often results in running nose, frequent sneezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing due to blocked nasal passages. These cause extreme discomfort to the newborns that disturb their mood to a great extent. Newborns are vulnerable to viral infections due to weak body immunity system. Fever also accompanies cold, and a doctor’s intervention is must to cure the ailment.
Fever in newborns is another common disease of newborns that arises generally from bacterial and viral infections. Fever should always be controlled with proper medication prescribed by doctors. Fever in newborns can also pose life threatening conditions and therefore doctor’s supervision is must.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Lower respiratory tract infection in newborns is quite common caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Newborns can develop this disease through contact with an infected person. Newborns should be protected from coming in contact with the outsiders unless they develop their body immunity system to fight against the infections.
Running nose, common cold, wheezing, high fever, sleep disturbances and restlessness are the main symptoms of this disease. Doctors may administer antiviral drugs and bronchodilators depending upon the condition. In severe case, the newborn may require external oxygen supply.
Jaundice in newborn can be caused due to a number of reasons and are quite common with premature babies. This does not mean that the full term babies are spared from this disease. The skin of the infant turns yellow in color within 1-2 days of the birth that reaches maximum within 4-5 days. The yellow color of the skin is observed throughout the body.
Physiological jaundice and breastfeeding jaundice are usually harmless that subsides within 2 weeks after birth. Breast feeding jaundice subsides through frequent passing of stools that removes excess Bilirubin through the stools. If the Bilirubin level of the newborn shoots to dangerous levels, then immediate treatment is required.
The doctor may advise to undergo several blood tests and ultra sonography to detect the seriousness of the condition. Newborns also undergo photo therapy with blue lights to treat jaundice. American Academy of Pediatrics advice continuation of breast feeding during phototherapy.
Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
It is also a common disease of the newborns that is characterized by frequent spitting, apnea, poor growth and difficulty in breathing due to sucking in the spitted out liquid. The poor muscular co-ordination of the gastro-intestinal tract leads to GERD. The stomach opens up after taking in food causing a backflow of gas and liquid in the esophagus. This disorder wanes off as the baby grows and the gastro intestinal tract starts functioning normally. You need to change the feeding habit and schedule of the newborn as guided by the doctor.
Weak immune system of the newborn makes it vulnerable to a common type of yeast infection known as Oral Thrush. The fungus, Candida Albicans is responsible for this infection that either gets transmitted from the mother or can be a reaction of antibiotics. White lesions appear in the oral cavity of the newborn followed by pain. The infection generally subsides naturally within few days or you may need to consult a pediatrician. Sometimes, both the mother and newborn may require antifungal treatment to cure this disorder.