We check with Dr Lee Le Ye, consultant, Department of Neonatology, National University Hospitalon newborn infections.
WORDS JOANNA ONG
What it is
Newborn infections are due to either maternal infections during pregnancy or those that the babies develop after birth.
They can present with non-specific symptoms like sleepiness, poor feeding, fever and even rash.
Treatment (and ways to help them recover faster)
Maternal blood test and cultures will identify maternal infections. The baby will require special blood or urine tests to determine the infections. For different types of infection, special vaccines and medications are required for each infection.
In the event of rashes, it is not recommended for young infants to receive antihistamines
as this can cause problems of respiratory depression.
When to see the doctor / bring to A&E
Parents should measure your infants’ temperature with a thermometer under the armpit. Any temperature more than 37.5°C is abnormal in the first month of life. You should seek the doctor if this occurs.
Mothers should undergo antenatal blood tests to determine if they have infections that can possibly pass to their infants. They can also undergo Group B Streptococcus testing. If this bacteria is present in their birth canals, mothers can receive treatment like antibiotics to reduce the risk of passing the infection to their infants. Parents and caretakers can also receive flu and pertussis vaccine to reduce the risk of passing the infection to their babies. The baby’s umbilical cord should also be kept dry to prevent infection.