Handling a baby fever
– Tips & advice!
My baby has a fever, 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 as it is the body’s natural defence against infection. Many infants develop fever even just for minor infections. But nonetheless, whether it’s a mild fever or not, you should consult a doctor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics categorizes normal baby temperature between about 36 to 38ºC. 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.
What is a fever?
A fever isn’t an illness in itself. However, 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 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. These are the easiest and most versatile among digital thermometers available on the market. Thermometers are one of the most important tools you need when it comes to your baby’s 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. This makes taking a temperature this much easier for you and your baby.
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 38ºC. This fever alert function is important especially for parents who are not used to memorizing normal body temperature. If you find the forehead reading is a concern, your can cross check the reading with a reading in the ear (with the Cherub Baby ear and forehead model).
Choosing a reliable baby thermometer should also pass the criteria of accuracy, be of hospital grade, compact and with a warranty for that extra piece of mind. When taking a temperature with a digital thermometer always take multiple readings one after the other. We suggest 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.
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 make sure you contact your doctor without delay. 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. Your doctor may take blood and urine tests to determine whether there’s a bacterial infection. Aside from fever, pay attention to other symptoms that will help doctors immediately diagnose what ailments your child may have. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, cough earache, unusual fussiness, vomiting or diarrhea.
Give Baby a Sponge Bath:
Sometimes, giving lukewarm sponge baths could help bring your 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 rub your baby’s skin especially in the forehead, arms and feet to lower down the heat.
If a sponge bath does not work, you might want to consider fever medication. 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.
NB: The dosage of these fever syrups and medicines are always determined by weight and not a baby’s age.
Keep baby hydrated:
Also a very important is 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 beddings 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 had developed
- The baby does not want to drink for more than 8 hours or is drinking much less than usual
- Signs of dehydration
- The 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.