Physician Thomas J. Vento, M.D. gives tips for treating your sick baby & the main signs that your baby needs to see a doctor.
It’s hard to tell who feels more awful when a baby gets sick: parent or child. But there are ways to keep kids more comfortable (and help you worry less). Family physician Thomas J. Vento, M.D., in Reisterstown, Maryland, answers the top questions about how to make baby feel better—STAT!
What’s the best way to treat my baby’s fever?
Stay calm: A fever in itself is not dangerous—it’s a sign that your child is fighting an infection.But if the fever is 102 degrees or higher, you’ll want to bring it down so baby is more comfortable. Call your pediatrician, who will likely advise you to give your child Infant Tylenol or Infant Motrin, or their generic equivalents. (Never use aspirin, which is linked to a serious illness called Reye’s Syndrome in children.) Always use the dispenser that came with the medication to be sure you’re giving your baby the right amount.
Is it okay to give my baby cold medicine?
The Food and Drug Administration advises against giving any over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to babies younger than 2 due to potentially dangerous side effects. "For a cough, I typically recommend a teaspoon of honey as long as the child is at least 1 year old," says Dr. Vento. (You should never give honey to a child under 1.)
What can I do if my baby is stuffed up and having trouble breathing?
First, rest assured, your baby is still getting the oxygen she needs, even if she’s snorting up a storm. It takes infants a while to learn that they can breathe through their mouths. Keep your baby upright, in a baby carrier or car seat, to make breathing easier. Dr. Vento also recommends administering saline drops, then suctioning with a nasal bulb to clear the nose. Other measures that can help: Using a cool-mist humidifier in the bedroom, especially at night, or bringing baby into a steamy bathroom for 15-minute intervals.
What’s the best way to keep my baby hydrated if she’s vomited?
Offer small amounts of breast milk or formula at a time—use a baby spoon or a clean eyedropper. With babies older than 1, try offering an ice pop made from apple juice or Pedialyte. Signs of dehydration include fewer tears when crying, fewer wet diapers, and dry mouth.
What are the main signs that my baby needs to see a doctor?
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