Is Your Baby Under the Weather?

Mother looking at sick baby in crib

When you little one gets sick, they won’t be able to tell you if their head hurts, if they have a sore throat, or if they feel feverish. But just because your baby can’t tell you what is wrong, it doesn’t mean they can’t communicate. We spoke with Dr. Max Gucilatar, pediatrician at JCHC Clinics, to learn more about what to look for if you think your baby is ill.

Signs of Illness
While the most obvious (and easily tested) sign of illness is a fever, it’s not the one that is most concerning. According to Dr. Gucilatar, the first thing parents should look for when a baby is sick is if the child’s breathing seems congested or labored. Difficult or obstructed breathing is an indication they should see a doctor right away.

Appetite is another sign that can sometimes be overlooked. “A really sick kid? They don’t want to eat,” says Dr. Gucilatar. If your child’s normal feeding routine hits a speed bump, it may be due to illness. When that happens, its best to talk with your doctor.  

And as for fevers? If your baby is less than three months old and develops a fever of 100.4°F, it could be a sign of a serious medical condition and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. An infant rectal thermometer can help take the guesswork out of temperature management and should be part of every parent’s medicine cabinet.

Common Child Illnesses
The most common baby illnesses are viral infections, like colds. But even with a common infection, complications may develop. “Even if it’s viral it can lead to something else, like an ear infection or pneumonia. It will either get better or it will get worse.” says Dr. Gucilatar. That’s why it’s so important to monitor your baby’s health, pay attention to their habits, and recognize when they aren’t acting like themselves.

You Know Your Child Best
Unsure whether to call a doctor? “You know your child better than anyone,” says Dr. Gucilatar, “if you feel something is wrong, consult a doctor.” It is always better to err on the side of caution. New parents may sometimes worry, but having an experienced healthcare professional available can make a world of difference the next time you think your child is not feeling their best.

The pediatricians and family care providers at JCHC are eager to work with you and your children. If you’re looking for a new family doctor, or someone to care for your children, give us a call at 641-472-4156.