Handling baby’s fever

By Cherub Baby

My baby’s temperature is high, so what do I do now?

It’s a parents natural instinct to worry when baby’s temperature rises and a fever occurs. However it’s quite rare for a fever to cause harm and it’s the bodies natural defence against infection. Many infants develop fever even just for minor infections. But nonetheless, whether it’s a mild fever or not, this common symptom of a possible illness should be consulted with a doctor.

The American Academy of Pediatrics categorizes normal baby temperature between about 36 to 38 degrees celsius. But the actual temperature isn't the only indicator of infant fever. A baby’s age could also be a gauge of whether a fever exists.

A fever isn't an illness. As a symptom of an occurring ailment, a fever usually indicates that the body is fighting an infection. If your baby has a fever, in most instances it means he or she has caught  a cold or some other viral or bacterial infection. A recent vaccination could also cause mild fever. Here are some more tips on how to handle baby’s fever:

Use the right thermometer

Most parents are now inclined to invest in an ear and forehead thermometer that is the easiest and most versatile among digital thermometers available in the market. Thermometers are one of the most important tools you need when it comes to baby health. Being able to take your baby’s temperature quickly and reliably are the most important functions of a thermometer. Aussie brands like Cherub Baby make thermometers that can do both in a variety of ways. Their dummy thermometer for instance, allows your baby to use a pacifier while their temperature is taken, making this necessity easier for you and your baby while a 4 in 1 digital ear and forehead thermometer can take accurate and speedy readings from the forehead, ear and the ambient environment whilst displaying a warning if the reading is above 38 degrees. This fever alert function is important especially for parents who are not used to memorizing normal body temperature. Choosing a reliable baby thermometer should also pass the criteria of accuracy, hospital grade, compactness and warranty for that extra piece of mind.

When taking a temperature with a digital thermometer always take multiple readings one after the other at least 5 times to get a good average. To do this be sure to purchase a thermometer that can take a reading fast and easily. If you find the forehead reading is of concern, your can cross check the reading with a reading in the ear.

Know when to call the doctor

If your baby is under 3 months old, a sudden rise in temperature is normal but requires immediate action. If you find your babies temperature is 38 degrees celcius or higher be sure to contact your doctor without delay and inform the doctor that your baby is less than three months old. At this fragile state, babies are easily affected by bacterial and viral infection.

Sometimes, a spinal tap is done to determine if meningitis is causing the fever. Blood and urine tests are done to determine whether there's a bacterial infection and a spinal tap to see if it's meningitis. Aside from fever, also be on the lookout for other symptoms that would help doctors immediately diagnose what ails your child may have. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, cough earache, unusual fussiness, or vomiting or diarrhea.

Give baby a sponge bath

Sometimes, giving warm sponge baths could help lower baby’s temperature back to normal. It also helps a lot in removing baby’s fussiness. Get a basin with lukewarm water and give him or her a bath. You may also wet a baby towel with lukewarm water and softly scrub into baby’s skin especially in the forehead, arms and feet to lower down the heat.

Consider medication

If a sponge bath does not work, fever medication might be needed. If baby is below six months, doctors often recommend acetaminophen rather than ibuprofen. For those above six months, most babies can take either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Consult your local pharmacist who will advise on the various options currently available. The dosage of these fever syrups and medicines are always determined by weight and not through baby’s age.

Keep baby hydrated

It is important to give baby enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Babies should also get enough water or breast milk, formula or an electrolyte solution depending on baby’s age. Common signs of a dehydrated baby may have fewer wet diapers, no tears when crying, or a dry mouth.

Dress your baby in a light layer of clothes

While others think that putting that extra layer of clothing and beddings could help lower down the fever at home. It does not guarantee that the temperature will subside anytime soon. Dress your baby in a light layer of clothes. Placing several layers of clothing or bedding might even increase temperatures in children most especially infants as babies are often fragile to handle.

How can I tell if my baby’s fever is serious?

Lookout for more than one symptom. If you find your baby has both a fever and other symptoms, such as vomiting, it may be a sign of a more serious illness.

Some symptoms to watch out for include:

  • A rash has developed
  • Baby does not want to drink for more than 8 hours or is drinking much less than usual
  • Baby is showing signs of dehydration
  • Baby is more sleepy and drowsy than normal

These are just some examples, however your intuition and understanding of your baby will give you the best insight to know if something is wrong. If you are worried about the situation always see your GP.

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Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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