It might be confusing when your baby has a fever for the first time. Furthermore, a baby fever is definitely something to worry about if your kid is only a few weeks old, the fever is persistent, or both. Babies need unique treatment along with specific medicines to get healthy again.
But did you know that a baby fever is also a sign of a healthy immune system? However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to worry about it.
There are several types of fevers in babies. Thus, it is important to identify the cause and undergo treatment for the same.
Let’s find out everything you need to know about baby fever.
What is baby fever?
Baby fever can be defined as an increase in the body temperature of your infant. It is also a sign that the body is fighting with an illness, but it cannot be ignored and left as it is. If your baby is only a few weeks old and the fever is chronic, you must reach out to a doctor. You cannot predict the cause of a fever by just temperature alone. It could be just because of cold or infection, but it could also be an indication of something serious.
The normal body temperature of a baby lies within the 36.5°C to 38°C range. If the body temperature is more than the normal range, this can be called a fever. However, a high temperature doesn’t necessarily indicate that your kid has a serious disease, as it is the body’s natural way of dealing with illnesses and germs. Remember, the fever may come on gradually over days, but it can be quicker in some cases.
What are the symptoms of baby fever?
There are several indications of baby fever. Most are easily noticed and none should be ignored. You must confirm the symptoms if you get the slightest hint that your baby has a fever. Common symptoms of infants with a fever are listed below:
- An abnormal rise in the body temperature of the baby. This can be easily noticed by a casual touch on the forehead.
- A decrease in appetite.
- A sudden rise or fall in the amount of time spent sleeping.
- If your baby gets irritated and cries a lot, this is a strong sign of a fever.
- Chills, shivering, and sometimes sweating accompany a fever.
How can you identify the fever?
You can easily identify a baby fever by taking the temperature of a baby. A light touch to the forehead with the hand will give you an idea of temperature. However, you can confirm the fever using a thermometer.
It is important to know the type of fever your baby has. This will prevent your baby from developing any kind of serious illness. The identification of a fever isn’t a difficult process because of common and noticeable indications. However, if the baby appears normal and the thermometer shows an abnormal reading, you must go for a checkup.
However, the magnitude of the temperature will not determine how sick your baby is. In some cases, a viral infection can lead to a very high body temperature. Sometimes a baby fever is identified by the breathing process of the baby. Infants usually breath faster if they have a fever; you should contact the doctor if your child has an increased heart or breathing rate.
How to take baby’s temperature?
There are three significant spots to measure baby fever using a thermometer. It is recommended to always use a digital thermometer as they provide better and accurate results. Using a mercury thermometer can be risky. In the case of newborn babies, only a digital one should be used.
Ear thermometers, called tympanic, require an accurate placement to get reading. Skin strips are not recommended for babies. Now let’s read about three main places on the body to take the temperature.
- On the forehead: The temporal artery thermometer is the new method used to measure temperature. It is recommended for newborn babies as it is more comfortable as compared to the rectal thermometer. It uses the blood flowing through the temporal artery on the forehead.
- In the rectum: It is recommended to measure the temperature in the rectum. This is best for a baby up to three years of age. The baby’s internal temperature can be taken accurately using this method. Be very careful while using the rectal thermometer, as it can pass along germs.
- In the armpit: You can use this method to initially confirm the temperature. This is also known as an auxiliary measurement. Once you have confirmed the fever, you can use a rectal or other thermometer.
What causes baby fever?
There are several reasons for baby fever. Keep in mind that a fever is not an illness, but usually an indication of some other situation. A few reasons that cause fevers include:
- Infection: Infants usually get fevers from viral infections. The body gets stronger and fights against diseases by developing a fever. The high temperature kills germs and helps the body withstand risky infections.
- Immunization: Babies have to get many vaccines and may develop a fever because of that. However, it isn’t obvious whether the fever is because of infection or fear.
- Overdressing: Kids can also develop fevers when they are overdressed in a hot environment. When babies are dressed heavily, especially in hot temperatures outside, this can cause a fever.
- Teething: Babies develop fevers when they began to grow teeth. Teething can lead to a small rise in body temperature. However, the baby must still be taken to the doctor in such a situation.
- Skin injury: A very unique but unusual justification for a baby fever is skin injury. The fever is not because of the injury, but because of an infection from the injury.
- Weather: Really hot weather can cause fevers in babies. Unlike adults, babies can not regulate their body temperature very well. This, hot weather is also a possible reason for a baby fever.
- Dehydration: When a baby is unable to fulfill their required fluid intake, it can lead to a rise in body temperature. If this is not treated at the early stages, dehydration can occur. Eventually, this will lead to several serious diseases.
What can you do when your baby has a fever?
You must make your baby comfortable before treating the fever. You also should keep an eye on the symptoms. Here are some things you can do if your baby has a fever:
- You must keep track of their health on daily basis. Babies that stay happy and comfortable require less treatment.
- Make sure that your baby stays hydrated. Giving the baby more fluids can boost the process. You can ask your doctor for a special drink, if needed. However, water is the best drink for babies; fevers lead to dehydration.
- Proper rest is necessary for an infant with a fever. This doesn’t mean that your baby must be in bed all day, but a baby should not feel tired if there’s a fever.
- If your baby is too uncomfortable, you can ask the doctor for medicine. Baby fever reducers can be effective in easing pain. Without a doctor’s prescription, don’t give your baby any type of medicine. The dosage depends directly upon the weight of your baby.
- Never wake up a baby who is sleeping as it can make the situation worse. You must not wake your baby to give them medicine or anything else. Sleep is important to reduce the temperature.
- You must use lightweight blankets and sheets to cover the baby. Also, don’t dress up the baby too heavily. Overdressing can increase the temperature instead of decreasing it.
- The surroundings of the baby must be kept normal. It should be neither too cold nor too hot. A normal temperature will keep the baby comfortable.
- For some babies, bathing in lukewarm water is effective. However, this is a temporary solution. Some people use a sponge in the process, but this is not the right approach. Some babies can feel irritation from the sponge, which will make the baby extremely uneasy.
When to see a doctor?
If you notice any of the signs listed below, you must call your doctor immediately:
- If your infant has a temperature above 38°C and is less than three months in age, this fever could be an indication of something serious.
- If your infant is older than three months and the body temperature is above 39°C.
- If there’s something in particular along with fever, like a sore throat or earache.
- Any sign of dehydration can be very risky accompanied by fever; it can lead to other health issues including less urination and increased laziness.
- Vomiting and diarrhea are persistent.
- If the temperature had not decreased after 24 hours.
Is a fever always dangerous?
A fever can be really dangerous when it is persistent and accompanied by other factors mentioned earlier. A persistent fever can cause dehydration and other health issues. It is very difficult to take care of babies in such situations. Infants become incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes a simple fever leads to serious problems like seizures.
There is no need for medicine if the baby is not feeling uneasy. The fever should just go away with time and young babies get healthy in just 24 hours. However, a fever can be dangerous if your child of fewer than 3 months has a fever.
The fever is not a serious issue if your baby shows any of these signs:
- Willing to play more
- No change in skin color
- Still smiling
- Eating and drinking well
It could be an emergency if your baby is having one of these signs:
- Bluish lips, nails, and/or tongue
- Sudden laziness
- Continuous crying
- Difficulty breathing
- Rashes or purple skin
- Increased irritation
Don’t worry about a fever. Just take good care of your baby and make sure to provide them with comfort and care. Normally, a fever in young babies is just because of colds and infections.
What else to know?
You need to be prepared for some of the questions that the doctor is going to ask. This will help you to explain the situation in a better way. It will also give your doctor a better idea if you answer everything well. This is important because you are going to answer on the behalf of your baby. Doctors will ask you several questions to prescribe the best treatment for baby fever. Some of the questions are:
- Baby’s symptoms: The very first question you have to answer is the symptoms of your baby. This is why you are suggested to keep an eye on the symptoms and note them down. You must be concerned about even the tiniest change in your baby’s behavior.
- Home remedies: Your doctor might ask about the home remedies that you have tried to lower their body temperature. It is advised to make a list of your efforts. Also, note everything you gave your baby to eat. It would be great if you can note the exact time and make a proper list.
- Baby’s medical history: You will be asked if your baby has any allergies or other diseases. This is because a fever can be a symptom of the development of a previous disease. Doctors will also ask about immunization and any present chronic condition your baby has. In some cases, they can also ask about pregnancy and birth details.
- Habits and exposures: One of the most common questions that doctors ask. They will also ask about any change in the feeding habits of the baby. The number of times your infant urinates may also be asked.
Baby fever is a common thing and you don’t need to worry about it too much. It is generally a sign of a good immune system; baby fever indicates that the body is fighting with some kind of illness. There are some really common and noticeable symptoms of fever. Once you notice any of them, you must visit a doctor. Usually babies don’t require any medicine, only a good and comfortable sleep. You have already read things you can do yourself to make your baby comfortable and cheerful again. Just make sure that your baby is happy and enjoying whatever home remedy you are using. Getting a check up is also recommended, as doctors can easily identify any growing disease.