There is no surprise that parents are always very worried about baby fever. After all, elevated temperature is a sign of problems with health, a signal of an infection or serious metabolic disorders, an inflammatory process, etc. Thus, increased temperature in an infant is a common cause of parental anxiety. Is fever really that dangerous? What should be done if the baby’s temperature is high?
Brief Information About Infants’ Temperature
High temperature may indicate that the child’s body is fighting against an infection. Temperature itself does not mean obligatory illness. A slight increase in temperature is the body’s natural defense mechanism against minor childhood diseases. So what to do with the baby fever?
In newborns (especially babies up to 3 months), the body’s thermoregulation system is imperfect. During the first few days after birth, the baby’s temperature can stay at 37-37.4 degrees.
Do not panic! Before the year, slight fluctuations in temperature are considered the norm, especially if the child has just eaten or was naughty.
The way the baby is dressed may also affect the temperature: babies overheat or, on the contrary, supercool very easily. Lack of drinking can also cause a slight increase in temperature in a child up to one year old.
How to Measure the Temperature?
Do not measure the baby’s temperature:
- Right after meal;
- After the walk;
- When the baby was crying a lot;
- After sleep;
- After bathing.
The temperature of a child up to one year is measured in different ways: in the armpit (the norm is 36-37 degrees), in the inguinal fold, orally (the norm is 36.9-37.4 degrees) and rectally (the norm is 36.6-37.3 degrees). It is better to measure the temperature every day at the same time when the baby is calm.
But, despite all of the above, the temperature of a child under one year old must be controlled, because an elevated temperature may indicate a disease. If the baby is breathing heavily, is capricious and crying a lot, or, on the contrary, is very sluggish, refuses to eat or has signs of a cold, then it’s unacceptable to ignore the fact that the temperature is rising.
At a temperature of 38 and above, you should immediately call a doctor, as it is very difficult to determine the cause of baby fever by yourself.
Possible Causes of Baby Fever
- overheating of the child;
- lack of drinking;
- prolonged crying;
- excessive physical activity;
- prophylactic vaccination;
- children’s and intestinal infections;
- inflammatory diseases of the ear, throat, nose, kidneys, etc.
Watch the Child’s Condition
With a baby fever it is necessary to focus not only on the thermometer, but also on the behavior of the baby. If the overall condition of the newborn is normal and the behavior is adequate, it is not necessary to treat the temperature with medical preparations.
Experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend not reducing the fever by giving the baby medication, even if the temperature reaches 39 ° C, provided that the child tolerates it normally and remains active. You can try to reduce it physically – remove an extra layer of clothing from the child or completely undress the baby (air baths), ventilate the room, wipe the child with cool water.
But if the baby has a pale appearance, his/her palms and feet are cold, inadequate behavior (the baby is apathetic, capricious, refuses to eat and drink) is noticed, and the temperature is around 38 °C – most likely, you will need the help of a doctor and medicines.
There is a separate category of children in whom it is better not to allow the temperature to rise to 38 °C. This category includes:
- Babies of the first two months of life;
- A child who has had convulsions in previous cases of fever;
- Children with chronic illnesses.
Temperature 37 °С
If the baby has a temperature of 37 °C, but he/she is active, eats well, has no troubles with defecation – do not worry, because this may be an individual feature of your baby. It does not require any additional treatment, since children of the first year of life have not yet fully formed the function of thermoregulation, and they can both quickly overheat and supercool.
Temperature 38 °С
The 38 °C body temperature of a newborn is a protective function of the body. Usually, babies tolerate such temperature without problems. They continue to be active, have a good appetite, hands and feet are warm. Still, it is better to give the child more warm drink. It is desirable to make herbal infusions to improve and maintain the overall condition of the baby. Usually, there is no need to reduce the temperature because in the range from 38 to 39 °C the protective immune functions of the body are activated. Attentively watching over the baby’s condition, you can temporarily refrain from using medications.
Temperature 39 °С
At a temperature of 39 °C, in most cases, the baby refuses to eat, becomes irritated, arms and legs can be cold. Heart palpitations and difficulty breathing may also take place. With these symptoms, medical treatment is clearly required.
How to Deal with the Baby Fever If the Baby Is Under 1 Year Old?
In any way, if you’ve faced the problem of baby fever, it is better to consult a doctor. Before the arrival of the doctor, try to bring the temperature down by non-drug methods. Because of the unresolved system of thermoregulation of the baby’s body, such methods are usually quite effective.
- First, often ventilate the room, but make sure to take the baby to another room.
- Secondly, take off the baby’s warm clothes. It is best to leave the baby naked, covering him/her with baby linen.
- Thirdly, dip a piece of cloth in room temperature water, squeeze it, and then wipe the child’s face, neck, arms, legs, body.
- Fourth, let the baby drink more often.
- Fifth, if the baby is sleeping, do not wake him/her without an important reason, for example, a doctor’s visit (feeding is not an important reason in this case!).
If traditional methods do not help, and the temperature exceeds the level of 38.5 degrees, the infant should be given antipyretic. But keep in mind, that before giving your baby any medication, you must consult a doctor!
Antipyretic for infants may be in the form of syrup or suppositories. The action of the syrup begins 20-30 minutes after ingestion, suppositories- after 30-40 minutes. It should be remembered that suppositories have a more gentle effect on the gastrointestinal tract of the infant, but if the child has not emptied the intestines for a long time, the use of suppositories can provoke colic.
A syrup should not be mixed with a formula, milk or water. Carefully read the instructions, strictly follow the dosage by age, always check the expiration date of the medication. If in doubt, call the therapist or an ambulance for a consultation.
In any case, if the temperature of the child has exceeded 38 degrees, you need to call a doctor to identify the causes and assign appropriate treatment. Antipyretic is not a cure for diseases, it is just a way to combat baby fever.
When Should Parents Call An Ambulance?
There are situations when it is not worth waiting for the arrival of a doctor – an ambulance call is required. This is related to the following cases:
- fever in children under three months of age,
- a very high temperature in a baby, which is not reduced by any conventional means,
- appearance of a rash on the knees and lower legs, especially similar to hemorrhages.
Immediately call an ambulance if the baby takes an unusual position of the body with a sharply arched neck and head thrown back; with the appearance of convulsions, frequent and noisy breathing, severe apathy and inhibition of the child or sharp excitement with delirium.
The following cases also require immediate medical attention:
- high baby fever with vomiting and diarrhea,
- if the child does not urinate for a long time or the urine is of unusual color,
- if the child has a serious chronic illness of the heart, liver, or other organs.