Common Illnesses
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Common Childhood Illnesses And What To Do About Them


Newborn babies frequently develop colds characterized by nasal congestion and a mild cough. If your baby develops a cold without fever you can try the following: salt water drops and a bulb syringe, elevating the head of the baby’s mattress, and a cool-mist vaporizer.


Fever a very common sign of childhood illness and is the body’s natural reaction to being sick. A rectal thermometer, either mercury or digital, should be kept at home. If your baby appears ill, his temperature should be taken. If your baby develops a fever of 101 or greater and is less than 3 months old please call the doctor immediately. If the baby is more than 3 months old, you can treat initially with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). Dosages for acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be found in this booklet.


If you have a mercury rectal thermometer, first shake down the thermometer until it reads 97 degrees. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly or a water-soluble lubricant like K-Y Jelly to the tip of the thermometer and gently insert the thermometer into the rectum. Hold the thermometer in place for 3 minutes then remove it. Roll the thermometer between the thumb and forefinger until the column of mercury becomes visible. Read the thermometer and then clean the thermometer with water or alcohol. A temperature of 100.5 degrees or greater is considered a fever.



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Last modified: 04/30/05