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Necrotizing Enterocolitis In Infants – Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

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Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a medical condition that is typically seen in premature infants. It occurs during the second and third week of development; what typically happens is the lining of the intestinal wall dies and falls off.

Why Is NEC Dangerous?

When the intestines are damaged, it may lead to the intestines to become swollen or even some severe cases develop a hole or a perforation.

  • This situation results in it incapacity to hold waste; thus all bacteria and the waste move through the intestine and into the blood or even into abdominal cavit.
  • This in turn can make the baby severely sick and at times the infection can be fatal.

Susceptible Age Groups:

Necrotizing enterocolitis affects infants who weigh less than 1500g, with a mortality rate of 50% or depending on the severity of the condition. Babies that are at a higher risk to develop NEC include:

    • Babies who are preemies.
  • Premature babies who are fed concentrated formulas.
  • Babies can get it if they are exposed to an environment where an outbreak as happened.
  • Babies who may have had blood transfusion.

What Causes Necrotizing Enterocolitis In Infants:

The main cause is unclear but some experts feel there are few factors that may play a part in it, they are:

  • Less oxygen or reduced blood flow to the intestine makes it difficult to create a mucous lining needed for digestion.
  • Underdeveloped intestines or a wound to the lining of the intestine.
  • Large growth of bacteria in the intestines.
  • Exclusively Formula fed babies.

NEC can also spread like an ‘epidemic’ affecting in babies in the same hospital wing or crèche. But it could also purely coincidental. And many hospitals take the utmost care to maintain such areas infection free.

Necrotizing Enterocolitis Symptoms:

Signs of NEC may look like those of other stomach illnesses and the severity varies from one baby to another baby. Initially symptoms can be very subtle and they can include one or more of the following:

  • Abdominal tenderness or distention or both vomiting diarrhea and/or bloody, dark stools.
  • Not feeding well.
  • Food staying for longer periods in the stomach than usual less active.
  • Apnea (interval stops in breathing).
  • Bradycardia.
  • Hypotension.

Diagnosing Necrotizing Enterocolitis:

In more severe cases liquid or fluid in the abdominal cavity can show up on X-ray. Also a condition called peritonitis which is the infection of the membrane lining the abdomen can be seen. Some of the Initial tests conducted are:

  • An X-ray is done to confirm the presence of any abnormal gas present in the intestines. It would look like a striped appearance of gas or a bubbly gas formation.
  • A occult blood test or stool test.
  • Presence of elevated white blood cell count in a CBC Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) Lactic acidosis.
  • In few rare and severe cases the escaped gases can be seen in the veins of liver or abdominal cavity. A needle maybe inserted by the doctor into the abdominal cavity to withdraw the fluid and determine whether there is a perforation.

Necrotizing Enterocolitis Treatment:

All babies with this condition need to be given treatment with a combination of therapy and medication. Some of them may require surgery to repair the intestine.

After diagnosis, the treatment begins this include:

  • All feelings will be stop temporarily.
  • Process of nasogastric drainage is done.
  • IV fluids for replacing lost fluid are given.
  • The infection is treated by administering antibiotics.
  • X-rays and frequents examinations of the stomach are conducted.
  • Blood samples and stool samples are also taken to look for bacteria and to make sure baby hasn’t developed anemia.
  • Baby’s belly will also be checked periodically to rule out swelling.
  • If it is swollen that will interfere with breathing, hence a ventilator maybe used in such cases.
  • Once the baby’s body responses to the treatment, the following steps are taken:
  • Baby’s regular feedings may be back after a week. At times it may be suppressed a bit longer and antibiotics will be given for another week or two weeks.
  • When feeding starts, breast feeding is recommended.
  • Breast milk is favorable for a baby with NEC because this is easily absorbed by the intestines also boosts baby’s immunity which is especially important for a premature baby with an immature immune system.
  • For those mothers who can’t breast feed or have less production of breast milk, doctors recommend them to giving pasteurized human breast milk from a milk bank, which can be considered a safe remedy.

Surgical Option For NEC Babies:

In rare cases, exploratory surgery is the only option for babies with an intestinal perforation. The procedure includes the following:

  • The doctors examine the stomach cavity to look for the hole in the intestine or to remove any dead or dying tissue.
  • Sometimes doctors may even conduct a second surgery to check and remove any diseased part of the intestine.
  • Once this is completed healthy intestine can be sewn back together.
  • In cases where the baby is very ill or large section of the intestine is removed, an osteomyelitis is done; in which surgeons bring an area of the intestine to an opening on the stoma so that the stool can safely exit the body.

Do Babies With NEC Fully Recover?

Most babies suffering from NEC do fully recover and do not face future feeding problems. If in cases where the bowel is bruised or narrowed or intestinal blockage happens, then more surgery is required.

  • Malabsorption can be a persistent problem, especially for babies whose part of the intestine is removed. For such infants, nutrients are given intravenous till the intestine heals enough to tolerate normal feedings.
  • You may be very worried when you may not be allowed to feed your baby. But this is the best for your baby and with the right treatment she will be back to regular feedings.

Best way to handle this issue is to be strong, believe in your doctor and find new ways to be close with your baby. People are always ready to support and help the parents of premature babies, as well as the babies themselves towards a steady path of recovery.

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Baby Safety

What Should Be The Right Age To Take Your Baby For Swimming?

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Swimming is not only an enjoyable fitness activity but is also a life-saving skill. Are you anxious to know when to start swimming lessons for baby? If yes, then our article is the best for you and your doubts.

At What Age Can Babies Start Swimming Lessons?

Well, mommies, by the time your darling turns six months old, he or she is capable of kicking and splashing water and will enjoy his or her stay in the pool. So, from 6 months of age, you and your baby can enjoy a fun time in the pool of your house!

  • There is no need to worry about the chlorine in water, but make sure your baby is holding her head up before you take her to swim. This will keep her sturdier and firmer.
  • Do not worry if you find her screaming in the initial days. If she loves bathing, there are chances that she will love to swim as well.
    • You can consider taking trail classes before enrolling her for the regular classes. Give it some time for your baby to get used to the cold water.

 

Pay Attention To Water Safety:

Water safety is one of the biggest concerns that you need to keep in mind while taking your baby for swimming. You need to ensure your baby is not facing near drowning situations. Here is some water safety rules that you need to keep in mind :

  • Keep a close watch on your baby. You must be around all the time. Hold on to her in the pool. Do not leave her unattended!
  • Keep a track on the duration of swimming. It must not exceed 10 minutes. You can increase the time gradually and must her out of water when she starts shivering.
  • If your baby is on her way to becoming a toddler and starts running, teach her not to run near the water bodies. Make her wear personal flotation device (PFD).

Keep Tears To The Minimum:

To ensure you keep her tears to the minimum, here are some strategies you need to keep in mind:

  • Give her time to settle in the water. Hold her securely and make her feel safe.
  • There is no need to rush, always start slow. Start with gentle motions. Swaying from side to side or bouncing up and down are some good options.
  • Once your baby is comfortable, you can demonstrate the basic fun skills like splashing and bubbles.
  • Praise her even in case of her smallest accomplishments.
  • You can begin with flotation devices and make sure to not use them when you are teaching her to swim.

6 Important Tips To Remember:

When you are considering taking your baby to swimming classes, here are some important aspects that you must be aware of. Take a look:

1. There is no need to immunize your baby fully before taking her to swimming classes. In case you have any concerns, you can have a talk with your doctor about your pre-immunization concerns.

2. Body temperature of babies tends to vary. See to it that the water is not very cold. Again, the water must not be too hot, as that can too be very dangerous for her.

3. Your baby should be fed 30 minutes before getting into the pool. Even if it is liquid it must be fully digested.

4. In case you are feeding solids, give at least an hour for the food to get digested completely.

5. Due to rigorous exercises after swimming, she might feel hungry; offer her a big meal after the classes.

6. Foods should never be brought inside the pool facility, as it’s harmful to do so.

Hope by now you might have known when can you take babies swimming. When you start early, take advantage of the primitive strokes that comes naturally to your baby. When she is younger, her inbuilt gag reflex is the strongest. This means she can hold her breath without worrying about it when swimming.

Happy swimming with your baby!

Moms share with us when was the first time you took your baby for the swimming classes.

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Baby Safety

14 Signs & Symptoms Of Heat Stroke In Babies

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It is rightly said that too much of anything is bad. Heat is very much needed for our survival, but if absorbed in excess, can cause array of problems. Heat stroke is one such problem.

Heat stroke is one of the consequences of an overheated body. It can be dangerous and life threatening for adults too, let alone babies. This largely happens when our body’s mechanism to cool itself down stops working.

Heat Stroke And Babies:

Heat strokes are, surprisingly, found to be common in babies.

  • Babies who can walk and crawl are even more prone to it because they like to spend long hours out in the sun while playing without proper hydration.
    • Heat stroke happens when your baby is over exposed to high temperature heat for a long time.
  • A dehydrated body is the usual reason for a heat stroke, as it leads to it.

Symptoms Of Heat Stroke In Babies:

Knowing the symptoms of heat stroke will help you treat your baby at the earliest. Here are the most common symptoms of heat stroke in babies:

1. Dizziness
2. High temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit) or even higher without any sign of sweating
3. Severe headache
4. Restless feeling
5. Rapid pulse
6. Dry, hot and red skin
7. Vomiting
8. Breathing gets rapid and shallow
9. Fatigue
10. Unconsciousness

A milder version of heat stroke is heat exhaustion which has symptoms like:

11. Moist skin
12. Cramps in legs or stomach
13. Thirst
14. Tired and lethargic attitude

Treatment:

Time means everything because a baby suffering from heat stroke can slip into unconsciousness within a matter of minutes. Here is what you should do first:

1. Call for emergency help, either your country’s national emergency number or your family doctor’s number.

2. Focus on bringing down your baby’s internal temperature as soon as possible. Undress your baby immediately and make him lie down in a cool area.

3. Try and find a shaded area if you are somewhere out in the sun. Use a sponge cloth or any other cloth to wash him with cool water.

4. Put on the fan or use a magazine or newspaper to fan him. In the meantime, if your baby is conscious, give him something to drink.

5. Refrain from giving your baby any kind of chemical or herbal medicine to reduce the temperature.

6. Heat stroke must be treated immediately to avoid any sort of complications. So the sooner you take him to the hospital, the better.

Prevention:

If not treated on time, heat stroke can turn out to be very dangerous. It is best to prevent it as much as possible. Here’s how:

  • Prevent your baby from staying out in the sun for too long. Especially during the hottest time of the day.
  • Try and avoid extremities when it comes to physical strain. Always find shade and walk under it with your baby.
  • Keep your baby well hydrated by making him drink water and other liquids and fluids. This holds more importance during hotter days. Feed more fruits and other naturally cooling foods to your baby.
  • Always allow proper ventilation at home. Make sure your baby’s room also is well-ventilated.
  • Do not let your baby wear tight clothes. Make him wear light ones that allow proper ventilation.
  • Never leave your baby alone in a locked room or car, even if it is only for a few minutes.

Once your baby recovers from heat stroke, he would still be vulnerable to it. So it is best advised to keep him from going out in the sun. Make him rest in a cool temperature room for about a week and presume normal activities only after your doctor advises so.

We hope this post helped you clear your queries regarding heat stroke in babies. Do write in to us if you have more queries on this topic!

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