It’s easy to worry about your baby feeling discomfort, as they don’t have the means to tell you what’s wrong except by crying. So if you check your baby’s temperature with an infant thermometer and it’s running a little high for comfort, keep yourself calm and collected.
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Fever Free… Until 100.4 Degrees
Technically, babies do not have fevers until their temperature reaches 100.4 degrees. Any lower than 100.4 degrees and it’s still considered as normal core temperature for infants. Keep in mind that your baby’s temperature can increase because of a variety of reasons from physical exertion, a warm bath, or simply just being overdressed.
Bacterial Fever vs. Viral Fever
Learn the difference between bacterial and viral fevers. Viral fevers are common when the body is fighting off a viral infection like flu or a common cold. This sort of fever subsides after three days. Antibiotics should not be prescribed for viral fevers as they have no effect on the fever anyway.
Bacterial fevers, on the other hand, are more serious than viral fevers and are less common. These happen when the body is undergoing a bacterial infection like ear infections or urinary tract infections. If left untreated, bacterial fevers can lead to more serious health problems. Antibiotics are necessary for bacterial fevers.
When Is Fever Urgent?
A fever can be considered as a medical emergency when it happens to a baby 3 months old or younger. The moment your baby’s temperature reaches 100.4 degrees or higher, you have to call your pediatrician immediately. The reason for this degree of urgency is because babies this young are vulnerable to the bacteria causing the infection crossing from their bloodstream to their central nervous system.
Another reason is that younger babies may not exhibit symptoms of severe infections as older babies do. So your baby may become infected with sepsis and still not exhibit any symptoms the same way older babies would.
You don’t have to worry about your baby getting sepsis if the fever’s viral, but since it cannot be easily distinguished from bacterial fever so your baby may still have to undergo some tests at the hospital to clear that possibility out of the way.
Give Medications Wisely
Unless your doctor says it’s absolutely necessary, give medications sparingly. Try bringing the fever down using other methods as a sponge bath, wiping particular parts of your baby’s body such as their forehead and underarms as this will bring their temperature down much faster. But if your baby is not responding well to the sponge bath, then it’s time to turn back to medication.
For babies younger than 6 months, it’s advisable to give them acetaminophen. You can give them either that or ibuprofen once they’re older than 6 months. Aspirin should be avoided at all costs as it’s been linked with Reye’s syndrome. It’s quite rare but can be fatal.
Base the amount of medications you’re going to give your baby on your baby’s weight and not age.
And lastly, don’t wake a sleeping baby just to give him medicine. If your baby is asleep, then it’s most likely because he is comfortable and must not be disturbed. In fact, take this time to rest as well.