Baby fever. My essential advice.

Our baby’s fever always worries us.

Especially when it is very high.

But fortunately most of the time the child with fever has no serious infections.

let’s see what you need to know.

Attention: The information contained in this site is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended or in any way to replace the direct doctor-patient, or the specialist, relationship and visit. It is recommended to always seek the advice of your own doctor and / or specialists regarding any reported indication.

What is fever?

fever is not a disease, but is an ally to help your child fight the infection that causes fever.

In fact, fever helps the body eliminate the virus or bacteria that make your baby sick.

Even high fever is not dangerous. And in vaccinated baby older than 6 month, the level of fever is not related to the severity of the disease. In extremely serious diseases, like meningitis, the fever is quite low, or even absent. 

What are the causes of fever?

In most cases, fever is caused by an infection, such as pharyngitis or bronchitis, and others.

Usually these are viral infections, that is due to viruses, and the child heals on its own without specific therapy.

Instead, fever is more rarely caused by a bacterium.

For example, the child may have streptococcal pharyngitis or bacterial pneumonia.

In these situations the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.

What is the normal baby temperature? 

The normal baby temperature depends on the measurement method you use.

If you use a rectal thermometer, the normal temperature ranges from 96 to 100.4°F (from 36 to 38°C).

If you use an auricular o oral thermometer, the normal temperature ranges from 96 to 100°F (from 36 to 37.8°C).

If you measure fever with an axillary thermometer, the normal value goes from 95.8 to 99°F (from 35.5 to 37.2°C)

What temperature is a fever for a child? 

Your child has a fever if he has:

  • a rectal temperature equal or greater than 100.4°F (38°C)
  • an auricular o oral temperature equal or greater than 100°F (37.8°C)
  • an axillary temperature equal or greater than 99°F (37.2°C)

How to measure fever in babies and infants?

My advice, following my experience and the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is this. 

  • if your baby is between 0 and 6 months old: rectal temperature.
  • if your child is between 6 months and 4 years old: auricular or axillary temperature.
  • if your child is older than 4 years: auricular or oral, or axillary temperature.

I do not recommend forehead thermometer. In my experience they are less accurate than the other methods

My baby has a fever. How can I make him feel better?

One of the most important things to remember is that when your child has a fever, you have to give him more fluids than usual to prevent him from becoming dehydrated.

In fact, the child with fever has an increased loss of fluids, even without diarrhea or vomiting.

If the baby does not want to drink from the glass (or bottle), you can use a spoon or a syringe and give it to drink a little at a time.

Give your baby cool drinks like fresh juices, yogurt, freshwater. In this way, you also reduce the internal temperature and keep him hydrated.

If you are breastfeeding, continue to do so. For the baby with fever, milk is the best liquid to drink. Maybe try increasing the frequency of feedings.

My child has a high fever of 104 ° F (40°C), what can I do to lower it?

Fever cause no damage and it helps to fight the infection. 

That’s why you shouldn’t try to lower your fever at all costs, but only if it causes discomfort in your child.

If your child has a fever, but plays, runs around the room, smiles, you don’t need to lower it.

On the contrary, even if the fever is not high, you should try to lower it if your baby is not feeling well, tired or crying.

Sometimes fever causes convulsions, a condition called a febrile seizure. This is not caused by the level of fever, but by a rapid increase of it, and is impossible to prevent, even if we give drugs to a baby with a very low fever. 

Natural remedies to reduce fever.

Dress him with light clothes, unless the child is cold or shivering. But not completely, with some areas of exposed skin, so that the heat can evaporate.

Put a cool, damp towel on the baby’s forehead.

You can also wet the baby with a damp sponge. This helps the evaporation of heat from the body and lowers the fever.

Drugs to reduce fever. 

There are two drugs that you can give to your child to lower the temperature. 

Paracetamol (Tylenol) e Ibuprophen

Paracetamol begins to work in less than an hour, and its effect continues for about 4-5 hours

The action of Ibuprophen is similar but theoretically lasts longer. 

Fever in babies when to worry

When to call your doctor or to go to the Hospital. 

If you feel worried or uneasy for any reason, call your doctor.

But remember that it is unlikely that the child has a serious illness if:

-Eat something and drink well,

– is awake and smiles at you,

– has a normal skin color,

– plays, and he looks fine when the temperature is low.

In each of the following situations it is best to contact your doctor or take the child to the hospital.

– Your child has less than three months and a fever equal to or greater than 100.4 °F (38 ° C)

– Your child has 3 to 6 months and a fever equal to or greater than 102.2 °F (39 ° C)

or, at any age, has one of these symptoms:

– Fever for more than 5 days

– Fever greater than 104 °F (40°C) which does not decrease 2 hours after the administration of paracetamol or ibuprofen

– Difficulty breathing or speaking, or breathing noises

– Vomit

– He doesn’t drink and hasn’t drunk for over 6 hours. He hasn’t urinated in the last 8 hours.

– The child is irritable, or sleepy, or confused, 

– He looks very sick, he doesn’t play, 

– He cries inconsolably.

– He has pain or stiffness in his neck (he can’t touch his chest with his chin).

When to call the ambulance (911)

You must call the ambulance immediately (911), if your child with fever also has only one of these associated signs or symptoms:

– Blue skin, or cold and very pale, or marbled, skin.

– It is difficult to wake up or is lethargic (a state of marked numbness)

– Does not respond, does not wake up.

– Breath very fast or difficult breathing, he has blue lips.

– He has red spots on the body that do not disappear when you press them (for example with the edge of a glass)

– he has a convulsion