Common illnesses in babies and toddlers

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Your baby may be cranky, and may cry due to something as simple as hunger, or due to some physical discomfort that it is not being able to convey. Know the common afflictions that babies suffer from, and put your mind at rest.

Baby colds :
Babies and young toddlers are prone to colds more often, as their immune system is not fully developed yet. All the crawling around and putting fingers and things into the mouth, can allow a lot of germs to enter the baby’s body. These germs, though present in the air all the time, do not affect adults, as they have developed a resistance capacity. The winter months are more risky, as the dryness in the air, causes the germs to spread faster. If your toddler is in a playgroup or a day care centre, then the risks of falling ill with colds are higher. A running nose, with watery, or thick yellow, or green mucus and low grade fever are the signs you should look out for. Watch the fever; if your child is a bit playful and eats while the fever goes down, it is, most probably, just a simple case of cold. If however, the symptoms have begun abruptly and are accompanied with diarrhea, vomiting and high fever, you may be looking at some serious infection.

Baby constipation :
The bowel movements of babies are difficult to understand. Some babies pass stools after every feed, while some don't. Every baby has a different pattern and the number of stools passed each day, varies greatly with every baby. Constipation usually starts when your baby is on formula feed or when you have recently started with solid foods. Dehydration may also be a possible cause. Very rarely, a medical condition may be responsible for constipation.

Baby diarrhea :
Babies generally pass stools that are soft and bit watery. The number of times the stools passed in a day is also quite high. Changes in the feed, from being breastfed to starting on solid foods, also bring about some changes in the consistency of the stools. All this can make it very difficult to understand whether your baby has diarrhea or not. An occasional change in the consistency or frequency of stool, is normal.

Baby ear infections :
Ear infections in babies and toddlers are very high compared to older children. The first sign, when you should suspect an ear infection, is when your baby cries more than it does daily and has become extremely cranky.

Baby fevers :
Fever in babies is very common. An underdeveloped immune system, combined with the exposure to so many germs, makes it very common for fever to develop in them. Rise in temperature is not the only sign though. Fevers, when present, indicate that the baby is fighting against some infection.

Baby skin conditions :
Baby skin is extremely soft and supple. Small babies often show white spots or blemishes on the skin called milia, which are harmless and disappear a few weeks after birth. This may look very similar to adult acne. Eczema, is also seen commonly in babies. Eczema, however, is an indication of a serious inherited disorder. Seeing your child suffer from any infection can be a difficult experience. Arm yourself with information regarding your baby’s health, so you can take action at the right time.