Umbilical Cord Infection

The umbilical cord provides nourishment from the mother to the fetus during gestation. After birth, the cord is cut. A freshly cut umbilical cord can become a site of bacterial colonization if left uncared for. The infection, known as omphalitis, exhibits the following symptoms:  discharge of pus, redness, foul odor and swelling.

Umbilical Cord Infection:

The umbilical cord is a dead tissue and slowly disintegrates from the infant’s body. If the skin around the baby’s belly button becomes swollen, red in color, and inflamed, the infection could be developing. In severe cases, the infant’s life can be in danger if the infection gets out of control.

The factors which can result in infection of the umbilical cord are:

  • Using a non-sterile instrument to cut the cord.
  • Close proximity to other infants: there are cases of the infection transferring between infants.
  • Premature babies who do not have a fully mature immune system to prevent infection.

Steps to Take to Avoid Infection:

Follow these steps to help avoid umbilical cord infection:

  • Keep the umbilical cord stump and surrounding area clean and dry. Rubbing alcohol should be used to clean the area after every diaper change.
  • Make sure that the cord is exposed to air. This is to minimize healing time.
  • Don’t immerse the baby in water until the umbilical cord has fallen off. Give sponge baths in the meantime.
  • Any kind of redness, swelling, or discharge is the indication of some infection. Call your child’s pediatrician immediately if you are concerned about any of those symptoms.

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