Most doctors consider a rectal temperature of above 38 degrees centigrade as fever in babies. It is natural that parents are concerned if their baby’s body is warm and fever is suspected. A fever can cause a baby to be very restless and irritable.
How to check a baby’s temperature?
Through touch, you can easily get to know the fact that a baby is running higher temperature than normal. To check the temperature a thermometer can be placed in the rectum of the baby or in the armpit. The rectal temperature is considered more accurate to determine whether the baby is affected by fever.
What can be the cause of the fever?
The fever can be caused by:
- An infection
- Heat-related fevers
- Some other disorders like meningitis
- Ear infections
What is the treatment for fever?
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are generally suggested for reducing fever. Never give an infant Aspirin unless the doctor recommends it. No medication should be given to babies below 3 months without a doctor’s consultation and prescription. The weight of the baby and any previous allergies should be kept in mind before medication is given. If the fever does not subside, blood and urine tests are done to assess if there could be any other reason for the fever and based on the result, alternative other medication may be suggested and administered either orally or through venal intervention.
What are the things to keep in mind when your child is down with fever?
Keep the baby in a well-ventilated room. A sponge bath with water is recommended as it helps cool the skin. Keep the baby under the fan or in an air-conditioned room if the temperature is very high. Even if a baby has chills with the fever do not wrap the infant with a blanket. Allow for good circulation of air.
When should you call the doctor?
It is important to monitor the baby and call the doctor if the baby:
- Is under 2 months and has a fever, it is considered a medical emergency
- Baby is refusing to feed and is very cranky
- Has rashes on its body
- Is dehydrated
- Has a seizure
- Has vomiting
- Is dull and sleeping continually
Babies older than six months can have seizures due to fever. The seizures can be genetic and they are called febrile seizures. The word febrile means feverish. The baby may stiffen, twitch and shake and froth in the mouth. The seizures mostly last for less than a minute. These seizures are not harmful and can affect children up to five years of age. Inform your doctor immediately and ensure that the baby receives immediate care.
Fever after a vaccination
Babies are likely to develop a mild fever after vaccination. This is normal and need not be treated with medication unless it continues and the temperature rises to a high fever. Babies who are only breastfed are less likely to develop fever compared to babies who are not or are partially breastfed.
Keeping the baby comfortable during fever is most important. The parent should be calm and also get extra help so the mother is not stressed out.