6 Preventable Infant Illnesses/Medical Conditions

RSV: This is a virus that affects the lungs and can be life-threatening, especially in premature or very young infants. My daughter acquired this virus around age 18 months, and she was hospitalized for 5 days as she required supplemental oxygen and some suctioning. The best way to prevent your infant from getting RSV is to stay home as much as possible the first few weeks and months of life. This is very difficult to do (especially if mom likes to stay busy and go out frequently), but it will keep your infant more protected from viruses, which he/she cannot fight off yet.

Cold/flu leading to ear infections: Neither of my children have had more than 2-3 ear infections, so this is what worked for us. We did not use full-time or part-time daycare. They were both breastfed until ~12 months, with very minimal use of formula. They were exposed to other children in these settings: church nursery, gym daycare, homes of family/friends. They both had colds quite a bit, but we frequently suctioned their mucous with a bulb syringe (hospital-grade). I am not sure exactly which factors of these or others prevented their ear infections, so please share your experiences in the comments section below.

SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can be prevented by:
1. Keeping your newborn swaddled and having no other blankets in the crib. I recommend Swaddlers because they attach with velcro and stay in place more than simple receiving blankets.
2. Avoiding smoking in the home with an infant.
3. Placing your baby on his/her back to sleep.
4. Avoiding co-sleeping (keeping the infant in bed with you while sleeping).
5. Ensuring your baby does not get overheated (with use of proper thickness clothing).
6. Avoiding drinking, smoking and drugs during pregnancy and while nursing.
7. Breastfeeding if possible.
8. Supervising your infant during all tummy time.
9. Using proper crib/mattress with no additional toys, blankets or pillows in the crib.

Clogged tear ducts: When my son was a few months old, I noticed he had some yellow discharge toward the inner part of his eye. The next day it was worse, so we took him to the pediatrician, who prescribed an antibiotic ointment. Of course that helped it to clear up. But the same thing occurred weeks-months later. It was a weekend, so we saw the on-call pediatrician, who told us to gently massage the tear ducts with warm water a few times per day. His eye was completely better within 2-3 days. To massage the tear ducts, use a washcloth/warm water, and gently rub upward from the sides of the nose toward the inner parts of the eyes. More clogged tear duct information is below, and they both describe variations of the tear duct massage.

Heat stroke: Your young infant cannot regulate his body temperature well yet, so you must do it for him. Keep him cool enough on hot days, and avoid taking him out in the hot sun. Be sure he gets extra fluids. Always use sunblock, beach umbrellas, hats, fans, etc. to keep him cool if he is outside in the heat. Be sure to use air conditioning in the car and home during hot days and nights.

Insect bites: We learned this lesson the hard way. We were outside one night for a cookout, and my son was wearing sandals while playing in the grass. We did not realize it that night, but he got several insect bites on his ankle. The next morning his ankle was so swollen that we could not even see any bites. We took him to the weekend pediatrician, who sent us to the ER. Major swelling in a baby’s ankle joint with no known cause could be very serious. Soon we were able to see the various insect bites, so it was clear that was the cause of the swelling. So we always use insect repellent now and are careful that they wear proper shoes when playing outside.

Published by lizbnavarr@gmail.com

I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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