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Signs of an Illness:

* Loss of appetite
* Vomiting
* Diarrhea
* Fever
* Change in color of skin
* Watery, crusty, itchy eyes or nose
* Red ears
* Skin rashes
* Lack of energy
* Change in sound and frequency of crying
* Sleeping to much
* Skin to warm or to hot to the touch.

One of the best ways to keep your baby healthy, it to ensure that anyone who is holding or playing with your baby washes their hands first. Many parents of newborns and young infants, request that friends and relatives who come to visit, wash their hands before holding the baby.

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You should call your doctor if:

* Your newborn has a yellowish cast to her skin or if the white part of her eyes is a yellow or green color. She may be jaundiced.

* Baby’s diaper is not wet prior to most feedings

* Baby has a fever over 100 degrees F.

* Baby is not eating a least 6-8 times per day

* Baby is to sleepy to wake for feedings

* baby has a runny nose, watery or crusty eyes, is coughing or is less active an usual.

* Make your home a smoke free environment. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk for developing health problems such as; bronchitis/pneumonia, chronic middle ear disease, significant reduction in lung function and asthma.

* Avoid using baby powder. Some babies develop respiratory problems from breathing it in.

* You can always contact your health care provider for more information on indicators of illness, recommended immunizations and well care for your baby.

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Temperature Taking

There are several ways to take your child’s temperature: axillary (armpit), oral, rectal, tympanic (ear), and skin. Also there are different types of thermometers used for each: digital and chemical dot. We do not recommend a glass mercury thermometer due to safety issues with mercury and broken glass.

Axillary Temperature
An axillary temperature is taken in the armpit. This is the safest way to take a temperature for anyone. We recommend that you take your child’s temperature this way. You can use a digital or chemical-dot thermometer.
* Place the tip of the thermometer in the armpit and hold the arm snuggly against the body.
* Hold this position until the digital thermometer beeps, or according the manufacturer directions for chemical-dot thermometers.
* Take the thermometer out and read it

It may help to gently brush his head with your hand to keep him calm.

Rectal Temperature
A rectal temperature is taken in bottom (rectum). We recommend that you do NOT take a temperature this way unless instructed to do so by your child’s doctor. Use a rectal digital thermometer with a rectal shield.
* Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
* Gently insert the tip of the thermometer into the rectum1/2-1 inch. Never force the thermometer.
* Hold the thermometer and your child to prevent injury if he wiggles
* Stay with your child the entire time and hold the thermometer in place until the digital thermometer beeps, or according to the manufacturer directions for chemical-dot thermometers
* Remove the thermometer and wipe it with a tissue or discard the rectal shield.
* Read the thermometer 

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What causes Fever?

It’s important to remember that by itself fever is not an illness. It’s usually a symptom of an underlying problem. Fever has several potential causes:
* Infection: Most fevers are caused by infection or other illness fever helps the body fight infections by stimulation natural defense mechanisms.
* Overdressing: Infants, especially newborns, may get fevers if they’re over bundled or in a hot environment because they can’t regulate their body temperature.
* Immunizations: Babies and children sometimes get a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated.

Measurement method             Normal temperature range
Rectal                                       36.6 C.-38 C. (97.9 F-100.4 F.)
Ear                                           35.8 C.-38 C. (96.4F-100.4 F)
Oral                                         35.5 C.-37.5 C. (95.9 F-99.5 F)
Axillary                         34.7 C-37.3 C. (64.5 F-99.1 F)


Call your Health care provider if:

*A baby less than 90 days old has a rectal temperature of 100.2 F. (37.9 C.) or higher
* A baby 3-6 months old has a fever of 101 F(38.3 C.)
* A child under age two years has a fever that last longer than 24-48 hours
* A fever lasts longer than 48-72 hours in older children and adults
* Anyone has a fever over 105 F. (40.5 C), unless it comes down readily with treatment and the person is comfortable.
* There are other worrisome symptoms. For example: irritability, confusion, difficulty breathing, and stiff neck, inability to move an arm or leg, or first-time seizure.
* There are other symptoms that suggest an illness may need to be treated, such as a sore throat, earache, or cough
* You think you may have incorrectly dosed acetaminophen or ibuprofen

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Preventing Lead Poisoning

These common sources of lead poisoning might be a concern in your child’s environment
* Chipping or peeling lead paint (found in many homes constructed before 1978)
* Soil around buildings painted with lead based pain
* Water that comes through lead pipes with lead solder
* Ordinary dust or dirt
* Exposure to fuel from diesel fuel or lead based gasoline (do you live close to a highway bus park, truck stop or auto repair shop? Is your baby exposed to such fumes during your daily activities with her?)

What can you do to prevent lead poisoning?
* Do not allow your baby to chew on painted surfaces
* Keep all areas and toys dust free and clean with frequent washing
* As your baby grows feed her foods rich in calcium and iron such as eggs, lean meats and dairy products. Children who receive enough iron and calcium in their diets absorb less lead. 

How can you tell if your child has to much lead in her body?
* It is recommended that babies living in buildings constructed prior to 1978 be tested at 12 months and than on an annual basis.
* Even if your child appears healthy, you should ask your health care provider to test him at 1 year and anytime after that when you have a concern.

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Prevent Tooth Decay:

*Never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or other sweet liquids.

*Never let a child walk around with a bottle or sippy cup between meals. Give your baby a bottle or sippy cup only when he is thirsty.

*Comfort a baby who wants a bottle between regular feeding or during naps with a bottle filled with cool water.

*If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure it is clean and never dipped in a sweet liquid

*Never give your baby soda pop or kool-aid type drinks

*Introduce your baby to a sippy cup as they approach 1 year. Dentist and pediatricians recommend baby’s stop drinking from a bottle shortly after 1 year of age

*If there are swollen red areas in your baby’s mouth or dark spots on his teeth, consult a dentist or your health care provider

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last updated 07/14/09