10 Danger signs of illness in babies every parents should know

Neonatal period is a period of great delicacy and concern to born the newborn as well as parents. After more than 9 months of all the preparation and hope, a baby is born and soon it becomes the entire attention of the family. Even normal behaviors of newborn may seem strange to the parents, as often the physiology and phenomenon of the infants are unknown to many parents.
In this sensitive period, newborn might acquire an illness and parents should know the danger signs that an infected neonate may show. Early detection is very important as delay can compromise the outcome in the baby.

Here are list of Danger sign’s listed by WHO- IMCI ( 0 to 2 months )

Possible serious Bacterial infections

1. Convulsions – uprolling of eyes, paddling movement of limbs (involuntary), vancant staring, sudden bluish discoloration with cessation of respiration, head drops, sucking like movement, flickering of eyes.
Convulsion may be sign of hypoglycemia, meningitis, sepsis or bleeding inside the cranium.

2.Fast breathing – More than 60 breaths per minute is cut off point for fast breathing in < 2 months baby. Fast breathing is seen in Pneumonia, Sepsis and metabolic acidosis.

3. Severe chest indrawing- Indrawing of lower chest and upper abdomen with respiration is a sign of respiratory problem most commonly Pneumonia and Metabolic acidosis.

4. Nasal flaring- is a sign of respiratory difficulty.

5. Grunting- sound produced during breathing typically is seen in lower respiratory tract infection including pneumonia.

6. Bulging Anterior frontanel- Frontanels are the open areas on the cranium covered only by skin and soft tissue. It is present in anterior portion of scalp as well as posterior. Bulging and tight anterior frontanel is a danger sign and may indicate meningitis, or intracranial bleed in sick infant.

7. Skin pustules- 10 or more skin pustules over the body or single boil 1cm , indicates need of medical attention.

8. Fever and hypothemia- Fever is less common in infants even when they have infection, more likely that they develop hypothermia ( cold clammy temperature ). It may be sign of hypoglycemia, sepsis or shock.

9. Lethargic or unconscious.

10.Less activity than normal.

Local Bacterial infection- 3 signs

1. Umbilical redness or draining pus

2. Pus discharge from ears

3.Less than 10 skin pustules.

One very remarkable sign both the parents and doctors have noticed in sick infant is, poor sucking of breast milk or cessation to feed on breast milk. Sometimes they may get irritable and difficult to console with excessive crying and recurrent vomiting.
Know these signs and be a Informed and Responsible parent. Only loving your child is not enough, you need to protect and know about them as well.

Dr  Sujit Kumar Shrestha, MD Pediatrics ( IOM, TUTH)

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