Presentation History

The history often provides a clue to the diagnosis. When evaluating infants younger than the age of 1 to 2 months, it is critical to review the birth history because the etiology of the infant's infection may be birth related. The key points to question include the length of the gestation, the use of antibiotics in the mother or infant, and the presence of any neonatal complications, such as fever or tachypnea. Although an organ-specific list of inquiries may be helpful in treating older infants, it is less useful in younger ones because the signs and symptoms of sepsis may be very nonspecific. For instance, vomiting and diarrhea accompany many problems, including gastroenteritis, otitis media, urinary tract infections, and meningitis. 16 Cough or respiratory symptoms would be consistent with a respiratory infection. Frequency of urination is important to assess as a measure of the state of hydration.

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