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First Aid For Babies
Although babies cannot tell you what is wrong, and their behaviour changes frequently as they grow, here are some of the signs which could indicate illness. If you have concerns about your baby’s health always trust your instincts and seek medical advice and reassurance.
There are a number of signs which the NHS advises should always be treated as serious. These are:
A subtle change in sleeping patterns may not necessarily indicate illness as baby’s sleep patterns are changing all the time. However, if they are suddenly unable to sleep or are showing other behavioural changes this may be the sign of an illness.
Mrs Hedgehog’s Magical Song no longer working? This could be a sign of them being under the weather. However, babies are a fickle bunch and this could also be a sign that Mrs Hedgehog is now so-five-minutes-ago they are embarrassed for you.
Thankfully, most common baby illnesses get better without medicines and actually strengthen your baby’s immune system. However, sometimes your baby may need a little extra help in the form of prescribed or over-the-counter medicines.
If your baby has mild pain or is feverish, paracetamol or ibuprofen in liquid form may be suitable. Some paracetamol medicines are suitable from two months and some ibuprofen from three months. Always check with your pharmacist that a medicine is suitable for your baby’s age and weight.
Products containing ibuprofen or paracetamol, like all medicines, should not be used long term without a proper diagnosis. If your baby’s symptoms do not settle within 24 hours, consult your GP.
If your doctor has prescribed a medicine for your baby, make sure you know:
These only work when your baby has an infection caused by bacteria (not a virus). Antibiotics are always prescribed for a fixed number of days and taking all of them will reduce the risk of the infection recurring. So carry on with them even if your baby seems better.
Antibiotics need to be given at strict time intervals so that their level is maintained in your baby’s bloodstream. Setting an alarm to remind you when the next dose is due might help.
If you aren’t sure whether your baby is unwell, our guide to Signs of Illness may help you.
You could check their symptoms with the NHS Direct online Symptom Checker.
If you suspect your baby has a fever, read our guide to taking their temperature.
If you are thinking of giving medicine to your baby, check our guide to medicine safety.
If your baby has been diagnosed with an illness or condition and you want to know more about it, you can look it up via our A-Z of Illness.
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