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When Your Baby Has a Fever

Posted Nov 21 2008 10:18am

The information in this blog is for information purposes only.  For medical diagnosis or treatment, always consult a physician.

Babies have underdeveloped temperature control systems. Mosquito bites, bee stings, allergic reactions, viral infections, bacterial infections- all of these can cause an infant to burn. Usually, a fever occurs when the body detects an unwelcome presence. By raising the heat, the body makes itself inhospitable to germs and wakes up white blood cells.  Fever also activates the body’s immune system.

Normal body temperature is 98.6 , but it may vary by a few degrees. A feverish infant will be cranky, sluggish or look flushed. Then it is time to take the temperature. Wait 20 minutes after a bath to take it, since the warmth of a bath raises the body heat and will distort the temperature reading.

Newborns and very young infants should be evaluated by a doctor for any fever that reaches 100.4? Fahrenheit (38? Celsius) or higher. For other babies a reading of less than 102  is less than serious. Give them plenty of fluids and keep them in a cool well-ventilated room. Re-check their temperature at intervals to make sure it is going down. A cold compress will make the baby more comfortable and help lower their temperature. Keep an eye on the child for twenty-four hours. If it has not subsided by then, call your doctor.

Consult a doctor immediately when your baby runs a fever of 102  or above.  If the fever reaches 104 , it is serious, and the child must get to a hospital as soon as possible. If the fever is accompanied by runny nose, sensitive eyes, red spots, or itchy red spots, consult a doctor, since these symptoms are indicative of measles or chicken pox.

For medicines, you can give children’s acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) for fevers above 102?F (39?C), if your child is uncomfortable.  Fever medicine usually lowers the fever by 2 to 3?F

Never, ever give a child aspirin, as it has been associated with Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome is a series of flu-like symptoms that set in right as the patient begins to recover from a virus. The symptoms include vomiting, delusion, combativeness, dizziness, listlessness, and signs of brain dysfunction.

Parents, especially new ones, are often worried when their little one gets sick. Don’t be alarmed. Babies often get fevers; but they are rarely life threatening or dangerous. Just follow procedure and have the number of good doctor on hand.
If there are ever any serious concerns, ask a doctor.

Find more help with your baby’s health at Child n’Parent.

By Stephanie Moore

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