According to experts, these small conditions in a newborn should never be ignored

Most of us ignore cold, stomach worms or flu considering them to be common illnesses.

But experts have urged parents to be aware that even minor illnesses such as colds can be deadly for newborns and they may need to take action.

For example, some viral infections can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia in young children.

However, these minor conditions can be very hard to spot because they ‘manifest in a very normal way’, warns Dr Muriel Meso, consultant paediatrician and endocrinologist at Portland Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK in London.

Here, Dr Meso explains the common ailments no parent should ignore, and what to do if they appear.

Dr. Meso warns that you should look out for drowsiness, rashes, high fever and rapid breathing in newborns as this could be a sign of infection

Mouth ulcers

Not only are cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus common in adults, they can also be ‘spontaneous’, meaning they disappear on their own, or can be treated with over-the-counter anti-viral creams.

However, in babies just a few weeks old the consequences can be much more serious.

“Babies are more susceptible to disease because their immune system is immature. So infections that may cause milder or less severe illnesses in older children can be more severe in babies,” Dr Meso told MailOnline.

For example, Dr. Meso cautions, the herpes virus doesn’t necessarily cause a child to just have a cold.

“If someone with a cold comes in contact with a child, he or she may develop a more serious herpes simplex virus infection, which can spread and become more aggressive,” he said.

In fact, babies may require serious medical attention if they are exposed to the virus.

Dr Meso said: ‘If a child develops a blister-like rash, particularly if they have been in contact with someone who has cold sores, seek medical advice. They may need antiviral treatment, particularly if they are very young.

‘If the baby is under three months old he or she needs to be taken to the emergency room if he or she becomes unwell.’

And this is why pediatricians emphasize that ‘prevention is definitely better than cure’.

He said, ‘If someone has a cold or cough, they should avoid contact with the child and ensure that they keep washing their hands.’

Cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus are not only common in adults, but they can also ‘spontaneously heal’ or be treated with anti-viral creams.

common cold

Dr. Meso warned that even common cold symptoms such as sneezing, coughing or fever can be dangerous for newborns.

While adults can easily tolerate the sneezing, coughing or fever caused by such infections, infants are more affected because their immune systems are underdeveloped.

“When babies develop more severe infections caused by the virus, they tend to manifest in a very vague way,” Dr. Meso says.

Dr. Meso says symptoms of a severe infection include abnormal drowsiness, rapid breathing, fever, and should never be ignored.

“Babies sleep a lot in the first few weeks of life anyway because they need it, but they also need to be alert enough to feed. So, if your baby is very sleepy, it could be a common cold virus,” Dr. Meso said.

He said, ‘If a child under three months of age complains of rapid breathing, extra effort to breathe, feeling hot or having fever, he should be taken to the emergency room, as all these can be early symptoms of infection.’

While adults can easily tolerate the sneezes, coughs or fever that come with such infections, babies can suffer more because their immune systems are underdeveloped

ear infection

Ear infections are very common in toddlers and older children and usually resolve on their own within three days.

But symptoms such as fever in babies can be more hard to recognise and could be a sign of something more serious, such as meningitis.

According to the NHS, children with ear infections may rub or pull at their ears, may not respond to certain sounds, may be restless or irritable and may not eat.

Dr. Meso warned that if a newborn has an ear infection, he or she may also have a fever.

If it’s just an ear infection you’ll be advised to see your doctor, but if your child has other worrying symptoms you should take them to A&E.

Dr Meso said: “It’s more about the severity of the presentation. So your baby is more likely to be unwell in general.

‘If they’re hard to wake up, their breathing is rapid, they’re hot and they’re under three months old, they need to be taken to the emergency room.

‘But if they’re older, six months or older, if they’re still being fed but their temperature is raised, then you may want to go to your doctor for a review.’

More than 90 percent of the population is immune to chickenpox, but newborns can develop complications.

chicken pocks

In most cases, chickenpox in children is a mild illness and not a cause for concern, but young infants are at risk of developing serious complications.

Dehydration, swelling of the brain and other organs, including the kidneys or pancreas, are all possible complications of chickenpox in newborns.

“If left untreated, they can develop complications such as pneumonia and other serious secondary infections,” Dr. Meso said.

“Any child under one month of age who has chickenpox and develops a rash should be seen in the emergency department. They will need treatment,” he said.

However, Dr. Meso explains that more than 90 percent of the population is immune to chickenpox because they have already been infected with the virus.

He said: ‘This means that babies born within seven days of delivery will be protected by their mother’s antibodies.

‘This will stop or at least reduce the spread of the virus.’

Vomiting and diarrhea

Although vomiting is very common in young children, stomach bugs can have serious consequences.

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Having a stomach worm in itself is not a cause for panic, but in babies under three months of age, the infection can lead to dehydration due to loss of fluids, which can be serious.

“If they come in with only vomiting and not necessarily diarrhea, there is a concern about dehydration, but they also need to look at whether it’s due to another infection rather than just a stomach bug,” Dr. Meso said.

“If they have vomiting and diarrhea, again, they need to be checked to make sure they’re not getting dehydrated. Infants and young children are more likely to get dehydrated and may need extra support,” he said.

Although newborns will need medical care if they aren’t feeding or drinking fluids, older babies can be cared for at home.

“In the case of older babies, if their temperature isn’t high, they’re fairly alert and able to retain at least 60 percent of fluids, you can monitor them at home,” Dr. Meso said.

‘But even if you don’t need to bring them to the emergency room, you should still get some medical advice early on.’


Common fungal infections are easy to treat, but can be painful and affect breastfeeding.

“It’s important that parents are aware of any symptoms, such as a white coating on the tongue,” Dr. Meso said.

‘If thrush is caught early it doesn’t cause a serious infection, but it can affect feeding.’

Dr Meso recommends visiting a doctor for a review, as they sometimes prescribe anti-fungal treatments for both the baby and the mother (if she is breastfeeding).

Although it’s important to know the symptoms of thrush, it’s usually not an illness that requires a trip to the emergency room, unless your baby becomes dehydrated.

“If this goes unnoticed for some time and it affects the child’s feeding so much that he or she becomes dehydrated, he or she can become very lethargic,” Dr. Meso said.

Any parent or carer who is concerned about their child should seek medical advice. stay healthy together She said the website provides guidance to parents and caregivers.


Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.

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