Having a new baby can be exciting as well as worrisome. You can take countless measures to ensure your baby’s health and safety but odds are that your little one is going to get sick at one time or another. Fever in infants can be extra nerve-wracking for new moms because if a fever gets too high, it can become a serious problem. Learn what causes fever and how to handle it if your child’s temperature starts to rise. Normal temperature in babies ranges from 97 to 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit, but anything over that is considered a fever. The most accurate method of taking temperature is rectally. You can also check your child’s temperature orally, under the arm, the ear, or temporal artery.
What Causes a Fever?
Fever isn’t its own illness – instead, it is actually a symptom of an illness or an indication of an infection. It is a sign of the body trying to fight off a viral or bacterial infection. If your infant has a fever they may a cold or the onset of a virus such as the flu. Fever in infants can also be a symptom of a bacterial infection, although these are less common in babies. Fever can also be caused by a bad reaction to a vaccine or simply from getting overheated on a hot day.
What To Do When Baby’s Fever Spikes
If your infant is running a temperature there are a few steps you can take before you have to call your doctor and in fact some pediatricians will not see infants are children for a fever that is present for less than 24 hours. Here are a few methods for bringing a fever down.
- Give your baby a sponge bath with cool or luke warm water; just be sure the water isn’t too cold. Also try to avoid wrapping them up in a towel. Instead just pat dry or allow the water to evaporate.
- Change your infant into lighter clothing to minimize adding to their internal heat.
- Make sure your child gets enough cool fluids to drink in order to avoid getting dehydrated. Breast milk, formula, some type of electrolyte solution or even water is okay, depending on how old your baby is (infants younger than 6 months should not get supplemental or water unless directed by a physician as it can flush out key nutrients and electrolytes.
- If you have the go-ahead from your doctor, it’s okay to give some babies children’s or Infant Tylenol or Advil to reduce fever. Be sure to ask your pediatrician regarding what dose is appropriate for your baby’s age and weight. This is extremely important as the dosage concentrations are different between INFANT and CHILDREN’S acetaminophen products. Always go by weight first.Infants younger than 6 months should NOT be given ibuprofen. It is also not advised to alternate medications unless otherwise directed by your physician. Remember that a fever is your body’s natural way of fighting off infections.
When to Call the Doctor
Contrary to what many believe, a fever itself cannot cause permanent damage. It is the infection associated with the fever that can be harmful. No matter what temperature the fever is if your child displays any of the following symptoms you should bring them in right away to take them to the ER:
- Presents other symptoms of sickness such as irritability, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, or has a rash
- Appears lethargic or inconsolable
- Shows signs of distress such as difficulty breathing or convulsions
- Fever lasts longer than 3 days or isn’t responding to any methods as mentioned above to bring it down
- A baby younger than 3 months
This article does not take the place of seeking medical advice. If your child is running a fever and you suspect illness do not hesitate to call your doctor. Although rare, a fever can be an indication of a more serious condition.
See Reference: WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/fever-in-babies