UMBILICAL CORD INFECTIONS
An umbilical cord infection is an infection of the stump of the umbilical cord -- the tubular structure that once connected the baby to the mother through the placenta.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care unless simple measures fail to clear the infection.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications if infection is severe.
Hospitalization may rarely be needed.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSThe umbilical stump remaining too long--the normal stump withers and drops off within 10 days of birth.
The umbilical stump exhibiting one or all of the following symptoms of infection:
-- Weeping and oozing of yellow fluid with a bad odor, sometimes pus.
-- Crusting in the navel area.
-- Redness and swelling around the umbilical stump.
CAUSESToo infrequent diaper changes.
Unclean surroundings for the infant.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEClean the infant's navel area and umbilical stump at every diaper change, because it probably becomes wet with urine.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSystemic infection reaching the infant's blood stream from the infected umbilical stump.
Complete cure with appropriate and timely care.
Clean the stump and the surrounding area thoroughly at every diaper change with a moist cloth or a piece of cotton soaked in alcohol.
Allow the stump to fall off naturally--don't twist or pull it in an attempt to hasten its dropping off.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special instructions.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your infant has symptoms of an umbilical cord stump infection.
Symptoms don't improve within two days of beginning treatment.