If your baby is having trouble breathing, you need to call the doctor and 911 immediately.
Signs of difficulty breathing include:
Children's lips are typically pink, so if a baby has blue lips, it's important to evaluate their breathing, says Dr. Danelle Fisher, MD, FAAP, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. If a baby with blue lips is coughing, has a fever or has had seizure activity, it's time to contact the doctor. A happy, playful baby who just ate something bluish or purplish in color, on the other hand, may have blue lips for a totally innocuous reason.
If your baby's navel (or umbilical remnant) or penis turns red, is oozing or bleeding, call the doctor immediately. These are signs of an infection.
Rashes are common in babies, but call the doctor if the rash covers a large area, especially the face, or is accompanied by a fever, oozing, bleeding or swelling, or if the rash looks infected.
Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are caused by a virus and are very common in infants. They usually last one or two weeks with an associated runny nose, fever and poor appetite for a few days, and a cough which can last as long as two to three weeks. More serious symptoms require doctor's care.
Call your doctor if:
Finally, under all circumstances, if you're very worried that your baby looks really ill, trust your instincts and call the doctor. With or without any of the symptoms above, your gut will tell you if something isn't quite right — especially if your baby's energy levels are lower than normal. “It is important to remember that even though thought babies do not talk, they do 'talk' to us in different ways. One important way in which they 'talk' to us is in their overall energy level," Dr. Robert Hamilton, pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, says.
Children who are sick don’t act like their normal selves. "Mothers know, what I refer to as the 'plumb line of normalcy' in their child. They know everything about them; how much they eat, how long they sleep, their basic patterns of stopping and sleeping. When children are not well, these patterns change, maybe subtly, but they do," Dr. Hamilton says. According to Dr. Hamilton, the scariest phone call that he could receive from a mother goes like this: "'Doctor, I am not really sure what is happening with my daughter, but she is different. I can’t explain it, but over the past 24 hours, she has changed.' This kind of phone call immediately gets my attention, and I will see that child immediately.”
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