Not all the parents know what to do if the baby fever comes to visit. Should they give their babies fever reducers? What kind and how many? Here you will get your answers.
The parents always worry too much when the baby has a fever. Elevated body temperature signals about health problems, infections or serious metabolic imbalance and inflammatory processes.
But not all the parents know how the baby fever must be treated.
What is a baby fever?
Fever or rise of the normal body temperature is a defensive and signal reaction of the body. The normal body temperature is 98,6 °F or 36,6-37 °C. The fever gets triggered by something “alien”, that gets into the body, such as a virus, harmful microbe or allergen – everything that is potentially dangerous for the baby.
The body starts to produce special defensive substances that are capable of increasing our temperature. Even the slightest increase has the ability to stop the dangerous viruses from spreading inside of us. And then it is the immune system that comes to play.
That is why not every fever should be interfered with and not every temperature should be altered artificially. Sometimes it is better to let the body deal with baby fever on its own.
How to take the baby’s temperature?
The small creatures are not so easy to calm down and make them still. Thus taking the temperature in the armpit is a challenge. The most accurate result may be obtained by taking the temperature rectally. I’m not sure if there are any mercury thermometers left in the houses of people, but don’t use that one for your baby – get a digital thermometer. Warm the end of it in your hands (or let the warm tap water run on it), accommodate your baby, calm her down, divert her with a bright toy or funny melody, lay her down on the back, switch the thermometer on (it’s very important) and slowly insert the end of the thermometer into the baby’s anus. Try to hold her still for at least a minute to obtain the result. However, it’s better to take the temperature for two minutes even rectally.
Types of the fever
According to the degree of the body temperature there are:
- low-grade fever – insignificant rise of the body temperature up to 98.6 F or 37 C, sometimes up to 99.5 F or 37.5 C.
- mid-grade fever – rise of the body temperature up to 100.4-101.3 F or 38-38.5 C.
- high-grade fever – when the body temperature rises up to 102.2 F or 39 C and higher.
High-grade baby fever is the most dangerous one for the health and fever reducers must be used.
Low-grade fever and very often mid-grade fever require only symptoms treating and care for the baby.
Signs and signals of baby fever
Sometimes the parents can’t tell from the appearance that the child has a fever. But if the following symptoms present, you should take the temperature right away:
- The child is feeling very hot;
- Unreasoned crying;
- Frequent breathing;
- Bad mood.
If the baby is able to tell about the following symptoms, it is another signal to take the temperature immediately:
- Feeling of fever and dizziness;
- A headache and muscles pain;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Loss of appetite.
Baby fever – what to do?
First of all, you need to calm down yourself and your baby; otherwise the child will notice your nervousness. Won’t stop crying and increase the fever even more. At first, you need to deal with numbers. Take your child’s temperature when he or she is not crying (or the numbers will be higher). It is better to do it while the baby is asleep.
If the baby is younger than 1-year-old or inclined to the convulsions, use the fever reducers if the temperature is higher than 100.4 F or 38 C. If the baby is older and wasn’t sick previously it is enough to cool down the body physically until the number is 101.3 F or 38.5 C or higher.
In any case, you will need to call the doctor to establish the causes of the fever. If you are not able to call the doctor immediately, control the body temperature every 3-4 hours and write it down. Also, make notes about the intake of any fever reducer and its effects.
If the child has a fever you can help by the following pieces of advice:
- Ensure the bed rest if the temperature is 100.4 F or 38.5 C or higher;
- Air the room out. Open the window; reduce the temperature in the room;
- Soak the towel with cold water and put in on the baby’s forehead, neck and arms. You can wipe the body with room-temperature water. Do not use vodka or icy water, because the rapid temperature drop leads to the vasospasm and lowered heat emission;
- The child must drink lots of cooled liquids, but don’t give him/her soda, since it is capable of triggering nausea and vomiting;
- Try giving the syrup with paracetamol. Use the dosage according to the child’s age. But if the baby is younger than 3 months – paracetamol is counter-indicated and you must seek for doctor’s advice;
- Feeding depending on the child’s appetite (don’t force the baby to eat!). The products rich with carbs are advised. The intake of fresh milk should be reduced (due to the probable hypolactasia);
- Ascorbic acid intake (the dosage can be increased twofold);
- Control the regular defecation (help with cleansing enema filled with room-temperature water if needed);
- Take the temperature regularly during the day;
- Call the doctor.
When you are dealing with baby fever it is necessary for the child to drink a lot of fluids. When it is hot, the body is sweating to cool itself down. But if the body loses too much liquid it “shuts down” sweat glands to prevent dehydration. And the fight with high body temperature becomes difficult. It is very helpful to drink fruit and veggies juices. They have lots of vitamins and minerals. Carrot and beet juices are of special value.
Herbal tea and elderberry are very common baby fever fighters. You should also mind that the fever is naturally reduced during sleep, but it’s also most pronounced right before the bedtime. So you’d have to create the most favorable conditions to get your feverish baby to sleep.
Read more tips on Getting Your Baby to Sleep
When do you need to call the ambulance?
There are situations when you don’t need to wait for the doctor because you need to call an ambulance. These situations are:
- The baby is younger than 3 months and is having a high body temperature,
- High-grade fever that can’t be reduced by the common means,
- If there is a rash around knees and ankles, especially if it looks like hemorrhage.
You must call an ambulance immediately if the baby is lying in uncommon position with the neck too arched and the head thrown back, if the cramps appear, the breathing is too frequent and loud, the child’s response is deferred or, in the contrary, too agitated and delirious.
The immediate medical assistance is needed for:
- High-grade fever with vomiting and diarrhea;
- If the child is not urinating for too long or the urine is of unusual color;
- If the child has some chronic conditions – heart, liver or other internal organs diseases.
What meds to choose?
Many parents think that fever reducers are irreplaceable and harmless. But this is a mistake.
Paracetamol is capable of damaging liver and ibuprofen can cause a severe hypothermia – lower the body temperature in an abnormal way. Aspirin is prohibited for children since it causes a gastric ulcer and violates blood composition.
So if you decide in favor of baby fever reducers follow the directions as it is prescribed! Use only child dosages and meds.
If in 2 days the baby fever isn’t gone the temperature rises again after the afebrile period and fever reducer don’t help, the doctor may have to prescribe antibiotics because in many cases it signals about secondary microbiosis. In any case, if you can’t beat the fever for 2 days – always call for the medical help.