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Virus or Bacterial Infection?

Many illnesses in infancy are caused by either viral or bacterial infections and your doctor can help establish which type of infection your baby has and how to possibly treat them. It is important to help your baby fight infections on their own where possible.

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Bacteria and virus can enter the body in a variety of ways.

  • Cuts and damaged skin surfaces such as eczema, cradle cap or unresolved nappy rash are easy entry ports for bacteria which cause further damage and discomfort.
  • Airborne bacteria and viruses can be inhaled from air-conditioned aeroplanes, shopping centres and infected bystanders. This form of bacteria or virus can cause respiratory illnesses such as croup, bronchiolitis, tonsillitis, colds and flus.
  • Bacteria and viruses can also be ingested from contaminated toys, foods and water, causing ear infections; urinary tract infections and tummy or bowel upsets such gastroenteritis, rotavirus and giardia.

Does my baby need antibiotics?

Antibiotics are not designed to fight infections caused by viruses and are not generally needed to fight most bacterial infections. It is best to save the use of antibiotics until they are really needed – overuse weakens the body’s natural ability to fight foreign invaders.

It is important to help your baby fight infections on their own where possible by ensuring they have a strong, healthy immune system before they get sick.  You can do this by providing regular cuddles, fresh air, sunshine, fresh water, opportunities for physical play, adequate sleep and a rainbow of nutritious fruits and vegetables as well as beef, tuna, lamb, chicken, whole grains, eggs and yoghurt. However if you are concerned you should always discuss with your doctor.

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