Omphalitis umbilical cord infection


Omphalitis we call the umbilical cord infection in the newborn. It is not very common, since fortunately measures of hygiene and asepsis in the care of the cord are very widespread, but when it appears it can have serious consequences, given the vulnerability of the newborn front to infections.
The umbilical cord is a gelatinous structure which is formed during gestation and which holds together mother and son up to the time of delivery. Inside it is crossed by an artery and a vein, through which circulates the blood which feeds the fetus, debugging this through the placenta.
When the child is born, the fetal circulation system changes to adapt to life on the outside, so cord no longer needed and have to pinch it, separating mother and baby. Part of the lace jelly is joined to the navel of the baby by the clamp, and will definitely come off in the first two weeks of life (although there are children who dropped later). During those first days should take precautions to prevent it from becoming infected.
Infection occurs by deposit in the lace of bacteria from the skin or the environment, asepsis and hygiene measures are not taken. The main risk factors of the Omphalitis are: preterm at home, infection of the meconium (chorioamnionitis), prolonged rupture of the membranes, childbirth, and improper care of the umbilical cord.

Symptoms and complications of the Omphalitis

Omphalitis occurs in the newborn infants to have between 5 and 10 days of life. Manifests first as redness of the skin around lace that is hard, grass, and hot to the touch. The emergence of very foul-smelling purulent yellow discharge is also characteristic. In addition, the infant may have low-grade fever or fever, decay, rejection of the feeding, irritability, and vomiting. For this reason, when a newborn child experience any of these symptoms, you should always consult with your pediatrician.
It is important to remember that in the newborn immune system is still very immature, so any infection can have consequences serious. If the navel infection continues to progress, the bacteria can reach the bloodstream of baby producing a generalized infection, also called sepsis, which is the most serious complication of the Omphalitis.
The symptoms of sepsis in a newborn are varied but, above all, calls attention to the decay of the child, the wrong skin color, lack of muscle tone, the rejection of food, and alterations in the cardiovascular system. In this case, medical care should be urgent because the prognosis is serious.

Diagnosis and treatment of the Omphalitis

It diagnosis of the Omphalitis is first and foremost the clinician: the presence of foul-smelling discharge in a cord of swollen-looking still has not fallen is easy to recognize. An early diagnosis is important to avoid the appearance of complications, and that the infection does not progress.
Sometimes a sample of the secretion of the cord you can take with a cotton swab to make a microbiological culture and determine what exactly was the germ that caused the infection. However, the final outcome of this test can take several days, so the decision to start or no treatment does not depend on its result.
To determine the extent of infection also blood samples will be collected for analysis of blood and microbiological culture, to assess whether markers of infection are high.
Depending on the severity, sometimes the Omphalitis will require hospital admission for the Administration of intravenous antibiotic for at least seven days. Caused by aggressive germs or more serious cases may require surgical debridement, but this is exceptional.

How to prevent the Omphalitis: umbilical cord care

While the Omphalitis may be a serious infection that can reach even to compromise the life of the child, prevention is simple, just follow a few basic rules of hygiene. The two key words are: clean, dry, and follow its natural fall process avoiding that it infects. The basic care of the umbilical cord of the newborn are:
  • For keep the cord clean, should be disinfected with alcohol 70 ° or aqueous chlorhexidine. So you soak a gauze with one of these two solutions and roll it around, and leave it at that until the gauze to dry, or even the next diaper change. Another option is to put chlorhexidine or alcohol directly on the wound of the cord, and put a gauze top dry and clean. It is not intended to pour large amounts of alcohol or antiseptic directly on the skin, since it can cool the baby too and produce skin erosion.
  • The main thing is to keep the cord dry, moisture and maceration are the ideal breeding ground for the growth of microorganisms. That is often wrapped in a clean, dry gauze pad after having disinfected with alcohol, keeping it well insulated from the damp of the diaper. It is important to frequently changing diapers in the baby. If chiffon has wet with pee of the child, must be replaced by a new.
The bathroom in the baby to which even the lace; has not fallen is not contraindicated just be careful with the area thoroughly and dry with gauze after bath. When the cord falls, a small bleeding, which is normal and should not alarm parents may occur. A few more days it should heal wetting a cotton swab (for example, which we use for the ears) with alcohol, apply it in little touches in the navel.
Article contributed for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

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