A fever is a cause for concern, especially in young children. Children over the age of 3 months can be treated at home but younger children require close supervision and monitoring, coupled with a doctor’s visit.
Your baby’s fever may be caused by:
Viral infections: A fever is likely a sign that your child’s body is hard at work fighting off the infection in him and since fevers are most often triggered by viruses, they’ll usually run their course all on their own.Ideally, a baby’s temperature should fall between 95.9°F to 99.5°F (35.5°C to 37.5°C). Anything higher than this can be a cause for alarm.
Immunization: Infants may develop fevers as a result of vaccinations. However, the fevers are mild and typically go away in a day.
Bacterial infections: Similar to viral infections, the body responds to bacterial infections by raising body temperature.
Overdressing: This can result in an increase in temperatures that can be felt on the forehead but no fever. However, swaddling a baby with many clothes for a long duration can eventually lead to a fever.
Teething: Teething can be an uncomfortable experience for the baby. Not only are the gums affected and the child feels the need to bite on something, but teething also increases the child’s body temperature.
While many of these conditions can be worrisome to a parent, keep in mind that the fever itself is a healthy sign that your child’s immune system is working to keep her/him healthy.
How To Identify A Fever
Parents with newborn children and children under 3 months should always be on the lookout and trust how they feel about their baby being sick or showing symptoms of a fever. These symptoms include and are not limited to:
- The baby feels warm and hot.
- The baby sweats cries and throws up a lot.
To ascertain that the baby has a fever, we recommend keeping a digital thermometer in the medicine cabinet. Not only does the thermometer help you make informed decisions with regards to the baby’s health, but it also helps you catch any disease early.
This Chicco Digital thermometer is a must-have for new parents, and parents with newborns. It’s easy to use and the fever alarm sounds if the baby’s temperature is greater or equal to 37.8 °C ( greater or equal to 100 °F) -> You can buy yours from the MumsVillageShop
What To Do When The Baby Has A Fever
In case your baby’s fever is greater or equal to 37.8 °C ( greater or equal to 100 °F), here are steps that you can take to reduce the fever.
1. Adjust their clothes
Dress the baby lightly. Usually, one layer of clothes and a light blanket should be enough to protect them from chilliness and bring down the fever.
2. Consult a doctor before administering any medicines
If your baby is younger than three months, consult a doctor before giving them any medicine. Paracetamol works well for babies between the ages of 3 months and 6 months, while Ibuprofen works well for babies older than 6 months.
However, always consult a doctor before administering any drugs.
3. Give your baby plenty of fluids
Fluids help regulate body temperature and alleviate dehydration caused by fever. Children younger than 6 months can be breastfed regularly while older children can be encouraged to take lots of water.
4. Give your baby a sponge bath
Sponging your child with warm water can help bring her temperature down by one or two degrees. (Don’t use cold water — it can trigger shivering and actually make the fever worse.) Fill the tub with an inch or two of water and use a clean washcloth or sponge to spread water over her body. As long as your baby’s comfortable and content, continue sponging him until her temperature starts to drop, which could take 30 to 45 minutes. If she’s uncomfortable or would rather get out of the tub, don’t force her to stay in.
5. Let your baby rest
Keep the nursery cool with minimal lighting to encourage the baby to rest. Rest allows the body to repair itself naturally and heal.
6. Watch your baby and consult the doctor for the next cause of action
If the fever persists, seek medical attention.
How To Take The Baby’s Temperature
- To take the baby’s temperature, you can either position the thermometer orally, in the armpit or in the rectum.
- Rectal use is recommended for infants as oral and armpit positioning is not considered accurate. If you choose to position the thermometer in the rectum, make sure you label the thermometer to indicate that it’s for rectal use only.
- Press the off/on button to turn the thermometer on. The messages below will appear to display in the order in which they are listed: “The last measurement is taken” (ex 36.0 (self-test temperature) with °C flashing to indicate the start of the measurement (the thermometer will begin measuring the temperature as soon as it is exposed to the body’s heat.
- Clean the thermometer with soap or alcohol and coat the end with petroleum jelly. Position the thermometer.
- Rectal use (60 sec). Insert the tip of the probe a few millimeters into the rectum. Stop immediately if any resistance is encountered during this operation. In order to measure the infants’ temperature rectally, lay the infant on their side against a hard surface and bend their legs towards their chest, holding them still so that they cannot turn over during the measurement. Remember that the body’s internal temperature is always slightly higher than the external temperature (by about 0.5 °C).
- Armpit use (60 sec). Place the tip of the probe in the armpit and press against the body.
- Oral use (60 sec).Place the tip of the probe under the tongue and close the mouth.
- An acoustic signal indicates when the temperature has been completed. Fever Alarm: An alarm will sound if the temperature is greater or equal to 37.8 °C ( greater or equal to 100 °F).
- Seek doctor’s advice if your baby’s fever persists for more than 24 hours. Newborns must always be seen by the doctor in case they develop a fever.
Call the doctor within 24 hours if:
- Your child is still acting sick or unusual (he’s crying too much, drowsier or less interested in eating) even after the fever drops
- Your child is 3 to 6 months old and has a fever over 38º C
- Your child is older than 6 months and has a fever of over 39º C
- Your child is older than 6 months with a fever of 38º C or greater, with mild cold and flu symptoms, that lasts for more than 72 hours
- Your child still seems weak or lethargic even after the temperature has gone down
- Your child has any other symptoms that you feel warrant a call — like a disturbing cough
Fevers are often accompanied by sweaty skin and excess thirst, as well as symptoms of whatever is causing the fever. For example, if your baby has a high fever and is pulling his ear, chances are he’s fighting an ear infection.
If your little one is still interested in playing, is eating and drinking fluids, is alert and happy and has a normal skin color, his fever probably isn’t coming from something serious. In that case, it’s fine to simply keep an eye on the symptoms. But if at all you feel like you should call the doctor — even just for your own reassurance — don’t hesitate to do so.
This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for a Doctor’s advice. Consult a doctor before making any medical decision.
This article first appeared on MumsVillage.