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Newborn and Infant Care

Naval

08/30/2004

Question:

little red

Answer:

I believe your question is whether or not there may be a problem with your baby's navel if it is a little red. If your baby is a newborn and the skin on the abdomen around the navel (bellybutton) is red and warm to touch, it may well be infected. Although not very common, when omphalitis does occur, Staphylococcus aureus is the organism usually causing the infection. Because newborn infants have impaired immunity, such infections can spread rapidly, making the baby very ill. It is best to immediately contact your baby's doctor and let the physician know of the redness. If you have a thermometer, take the baby's temperature and tell the doctor the temperature when you call. Even if there is no fever, you should call, since the most seriously ill infants may be too ill to run a fever. It is wiser to be safe and call the doctor than to take the chance of delaying treatment for a serious problem. If it turns out to be nothing other than irritation from clothing or a little redness from recent separation of the cord stump, you will still have chosen the best course of action.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University