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Crying and Illness

Although all babies cry sometimes, there are times when crying may be a sign of illness.

Listen for sudden changes in the pattern or sound of your baby’s crying. Often, there’ll be a simple explanation. For example, if you’ve been going out more than usual your baby might be overtired.

If they seem to have other symptoms, such as a high temperature, they may have an illness. Your baby may have something minor, such as a cold, or something treatable, such as reflux. If this is the case, contact your GP or health visitor.

Get medical attention as soon as you can if your baby:

  • has a weak, high-pitched continuous cry
  • seems floppy when you pick them up
  • takes less than a third of their usual amount of fluids
  • passes much less urine than usual
  • vomits green fluid
  • passes blood in their stools
  • has a fever of 38°C or above (if they're less than three months old) or 39°C or above (if they're between three and six months)
  • has a high temperature, but their hands and feet feel cold
  • has a bulging fontanelle
  • has had a fit
  • turns blue, mottled or very pale
  • has a stiff neck
  • has difficulty breathing, breathes fast or grunts while breathing, or seems to be working hard to breathe (for example, sucking in under the ribcage)
  • has a spotty purple-red rash anywhere on the body (this could be sign of meningitis)

If you think there’s something wrong, always follow your instincts and contact your GP or health visitor.

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