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Should you Google your baby’s symptoms?

The internet makes it easier for parents to find information and potentially misdiagnose or delay treatment for their baby.

According to a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Googling your baby’s symptoms can lead to both parental and clinician doubt, as well as a possible late diagnosis.

Going online when your infant is unwell, according to the study, not only diminishes a parent’s belief in qualified medical experts, but it can also cause a delay in treatment if parents don’t trust their doctor’s diagnosis because of what they read online. Babyhood is an especially vulnerable time of life, as your baby’s immune system is still maturing. Babies frequently suffer from common health issues that can range from mild to dangerous.

As adults we often “self-diagnose” when we feel sick, turning to Google to surf our signs and symptoms and ways in which to best treat them. However, when babies are sick, Google isn’t your friend. Whether your baby has the sniffles, is suffering from teething pains or has a high fever the most accurate way of determining the need for medication is to pay a visit to the doctor’s room.

How will I know my baby needs a doctor?

General indications that your baby is not feeling well include uncontrollable crying and fussiness when touched, a lack of appetite and lethargy. Danger signs include a high fever, a sudden skin rash, a change in skin colour, your baby not wanting to wake up or having extreme vomiting and diarrhoea, especially with blood in the stool. These symptoms will alert you to the need for a visit to the doctor.

Administering the medication

Once medication and professional advice have been dispensed, make sure you keep strictly to the prescribed dosing amounts and intervals. Other handy tips would have you seat baby at a 45-degree angle and keep his arms down by his side and the back of his head supported against your arm. Administer the liquid a few drops at a time. Too much will cause your baby to cough, splutter and spit the whole lot out.

Aim the drips to the side of the tongue near the back of the mouth to avoid choking and avoid the temptation to get it down all in one go or to squirt into the cheek pouches as he is likely to store it there and spit it back out at the first opportunity.

Medicine is not always essential

It’s also important to refrain from giving baby medicine unless it is completely necessary; remember that your child’s body needs to be given the chance to fight infection and build up immunity.

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