There’s nothing more wonderful and miraculous than bringing a new life to the world. Children change our world view and become the source of endless joy and love. However, as truly helpless beings, newborns are susceptible to a plethora of diseases and infections, as their immune systems are not yet developed.
Every mother knows the woes and the stress of nurturing a sick newborn, combined with countless sleepless nights. Most of the diseases which affect newborns usually aren’t life-threatening – and are a part of the normal immune system development. Here are some of the most common diseases that affect newborns.
The children’s immature immune system is susceptible to the common cold. As there are more than 200 pathogens that can cause the common cold, it means that it’ll be a source of quite a number of sleepless nights. For a newborn who has normal development of the immune system, colds occur from four to six times a year.
The symptoms include a low fever and a runny nose. They subside in a few days, but it’s important that the newborn gets plenty of liquids (with breastfeeding or a baby formula)
Ear infections are a common occurrence in babies and present Cold-Like symptoms. Some babies may also incessantly tug and pull at their ears (even though this is not a certain way to determine if your child has an ear infection, as they often pull at their ears for manifold reasons). Moreover, symptoms like diarrhea, reduced appetite, vomiting or obnoxious-smelling ear discharge might present themselves.
Always consult your pediatrician to determine if the infection warrants the usage of antibiotics. It’s also recommended for you to hold your baby in an upright position, to allow normal fluid drainage which lessens the pressure on the eardrum.
Exanthema is a wide-spread rush occurring in children, which can be caused by many pathogens. However, in the context of infectious diseases, there are six diseases which can cause exanthema in newborns: measles, scarlet fever, rubella, duke’s disease, erythema infection, and roseola.
These are caused by different viruses, with their own treatments. All of these infections usually occur before the age of three. If your child presents with a rash, always consult your pediatrician to determine the nature of the rash and prescribe adequate therapy and treatment.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus
RSV is the most common cause of respiratory infections in newborns and infants. Symptoms include coughing and difficulty breathing, bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Newborns who have suffered a bad case of RSV infection are more susceptible to developing asthma.
RSV can be a dangerous condition in newborns. It presents with cold-like symptoms which last more than a week. However, if the newborn has difficulty breathing, immediate medical attention is required.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation and reddening of the eye (pinkeye) that commonly occurs in newborns. Aside from infectious pathogens, it can be caused by chemicals and other allergens in the newborns immediate surrounding.
Conjunctivitis can also be an accompanying symptom of a much more serious condition like sepsis or meningitis, so it’s considered a medical emergency.
Taking care of your newborn is by no means an easy task. Especially because you as a parent are a potential carrier of many of the pathogens that cause the infection. However, there’s no room for panic, it’s all part of your child’s normal psycho-physical development.