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News from Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #017
February 01, 2008

New Questions and Answers

Question: I have a 9 month baby at my creche and mom has just told me her baby has baby measles, and its not contagious! Is this true: spots on thursday, at creche on friday! she said the baby was contagious before the rash

Answer: Measles is contagious until 4 days after the rash appears. If the baby developed the rash at least 4 days before attending creche, then the mother is right and the baby is not infectious. But if the rash appeared Thursday and she was at creche Friday, she would be contagious.

Babies usually receive immunity from their mothers to measles which can last 9 months or so, which is why the measles immunisation isn't given until after 12 months of age. Your baby may be immune to measles because you have provided your baby with antibody.

If babies are exposed and don't have immunity then it can be 2 weeks before they get the measles rash themselves (although they have symptoms of being unwell after about 10 days).

Question: my grandson's belly button in sticking way out. He's two months. My mother-in-law told me to tape it down and it would correct itself

Answer: Don't be concerned at all - your grandson has an umbilical hernia (belly button hernia). These are not dangerous (unlike inguinal hernias which can twist and block) and they get smaller over time without any treatment.

There is no need to tape them up. I usually say do nothing. If the hernia is still big at the age of 4 years, you could see a surgeon if you are worried about the appearance and your grandson getting teased at school - just remember that surgery leaves a scar not a normal belly button.

In the vast majority of cases, babies who have umbilical hernias end up with normal belly buttons with no treatment at all - just time.

Question: My Baby is one month and 12 days old. They discoverd that he is tounge tied. We have been to two different doctors and both say different ages. Can you please tell me at what age you recommend to have the tounge clipped. Also I had some trouble breast feeding. Could the tounge problem be the reason for that. Thanks!

Answer: I am not a big fan of clipping the tongue tie. Many of my colleagues do the procedure and the timing varies. My advice is that it is usually not needed. The only indications would be trouble feeding (early breast feeding problems are not usually because of the tongue tie) or speech problems.

Either way, I would only recommend clipping the tongue tie if your baby is not gaining weight over the first few months or is not speaking by 3 years of age.

Babies who have tongue tie and don't have them clipped do as well generally as babies who have never had tongue tie.

Question: I have a 5 month old that has one eye that has been watering for a day or so. What could be causing this?

Answer: Most likely a blocked tear duct - see the Blocked Tear Duct page

News and Updates

New Treatment for Otitis Media

A recent study has shown that 3 drops of 2% aqueous lignocaine (lidocaine) solution put in the painful ear associated with otitis media (ear infection) causes a reduction in pain. Only one administration is necessary. The child lies with the painful ear upwards and stays like this for 5 minutes after administration of the drops.

Something to ask your doctor for next time you child has earache!

Bolt P et al. Topcial lignocaine for pain relief in acute otitis media:results of a double-blind placebo-controlled randomised trial. Arch Dis Child 2008;93:40-44

Have you seen this website:

First Words Project - This is a project within the Florida State University Department of Communication Disorders.

There are useful links to checklists parents can use to assess their child's communication development.

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