Baby fever is one of the most common conditions that are extremely dangerous for babies younger than three months old. What does every parent need to know and how to be ready to act on time? When does baby fever become dangerous?
What is baby fever? Well, the fever is one of the most typical yet most urgent causes for which families with younger kids seek for doctor’s help. It is well known that fever symptoms cannot be considered as easygoing and mellow, and that fever could leave babies unconscious which becomes an emergency condition that needs to be treated instantly. Babies with
ages less than 3 months oldpresent the most sensible category because they cannot be treated with any medicine at home without supervision. However, for all the babies it is critical to react on time, therefore any parent shall pass at least quickly through the most important facts related to this topic.
What Is Considered a Baby Fever?
Baby fever in the English dictionary has two very distinctive meanings, one quite positive; and the other sometimes quite dangerous, moreover a condition that can be a ‘matter of life’. The first positive one is one about a couple’s strong and sudden desire to have kids of their own and can be presented openly in many cultures worldwide.
On the other side, baby fever (high temperature) is a medical symptom that frequently indicates the existence of viral or bacterial infection in a child’s body. Baby fever can be one of the most troubling experiences for new parents that can leave you hopeless and anxious, especially if it appears in the very first weeks of a baby’s life.
Basically, fever means that the baby’s little body is fighting against illness. It appears as a reaction in the same way as in cases of flu in grown-ups, for instance, only it is much harder to come up with the right approach and help the baby as soon as symptoms are there.
Baby fever can be easily measured with thermometers. Many doctor associations including American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advise doing the measuring only with digital thermometers, both for punctuality and fastness.
How to Know When Your Baby Has Fever?
Most mothers with their strong maternal instinct will sense that something’s wrong with their babies by just looking at them. Baby’s stirring, cramping, and unease look on the face are just some of the matters that can point to the possibility of the baby having a fever. A short touch with bare hands on their face or palms that will be burning can be even clearer indicators. Babies can appear more moody than usual; they show a lack of interest in toys and active playing and they stay in poor condition regarding eating and sleeping. So, when is a fever too high for a baby?
You noticed these indicators and first what you decide is to check the baby’s temperature to assure yourself the fever is right there. You should then know that you can take (check) the temperature in three different types (based on location) and these are:
- Rectal checking (that is recommended for infants) because it shows the most accurate result in less time, even with a classic thermometer it takes less than two minutes to measure the temperature this way.
- Orally (mouth) checking
- Axillary (under the arm) checking (that is a more common version for bigger kids when they can even hold their thermometers themselves).
So, which temperature causes a red alarm at an early age?
With the rectal temperature above 38°C or armpit temperature above 37.2 °C, it is definite that your baby is under fever.
The temperature that goes higher than the merits mentioned above is an instant sign that you should give a call to a home doctor or go to the nearest hospital.
A baby with a fever, who is not moving or hardly awakening from sleep, is a baby who can have severe consequences if not treated on time, so you can never cross the fever condition naively or forget of the hardest consequences which include: dehydration, sepsis or meningitis.
Causes of Fever in Babies
As a parent, you may not look for causes of fever in babies, you won’t probably care about all the detailed explanations of doctors when they will be telling you what had happened to your child; while instead you will definitely be preoccupied only with removing that cause as soon as possible so you could see a happy and smiling child in front of you.
Babies may have a lot of problems such as the baby being colic or having fever. Even though you will feel relief if the doctor says that it’s the basic flu that caused the fever and not pneumonia, you will always remember all the possible causes and next time try to protect your baby even more outdoors, in cold weather, and in groups where there are sick individuals.
Related to this, let’s pass through the causes briefly:
- Viral infections: including flu, common cold, respiratory tract infections, roseola.
- Ear infections
- A fever that comes after the shot of vaccine can appear in the first 12 hours after the shot and last for 2-3 days
- Unclassified bacterial infection amongst infants (in the first three months) which can advance very fast and cause sepsis
- Meningitis: is an extremely dangerous bacterial or viral infection that affects the spinal cord and brain; and can have irreversible consequences on a baby’s motoric development if not diagnosed and treated fast
- Urinary tract infection and
- The fever: appeared as a part of heat irregularity because babies are very vulnerable and illegible to control their heat (sometimes overdressing even can be the cause of fever).
Are Fevers Dangerous for Babies?
Every medical condition without doubt brings a dose of insecurity, worry, and many sleepless nights for parents. Somehow, it is like a person is programmed to feel extra worry at each moment when it’s a matter of your own child’s health and well-being. Yet again, when is the right time to worry about baby fever? You put an extra effort to do all in your power to evade the complications, but it is a fact that even a fever that seemed benign at first can easily become dangerous. You may be a lucky parent if your baby skipped fevers and flu in the first 6 months of their life because usage of medicines and treatments drives themselves to other possible problems (read allergies).
Widely prescribed drug paracetamol (with common brand names that include Panadol, and Calpol) often shows the best/optimal results when dosed adequately. However, after decades of its presence on the market, it is proven that paracetamol is only good as an antipyretic and not as anti-inflammatory medicine as was thought at first. Therefore, when using it on babies, doctors regularly give it in combination with some other medicine, commonly Ibuprofen if the baby is older than six or seven months. Additionally, it is good to know that antibiotics will help ideally only in case of bacterial infections, which are nowadays rarer than the viral ones; so, the consumption of them
especially at a young age is not encouraged if it was not proven that it is a case of strong bacterial infection.
All parents should keep in mind that even though their babies may look so limited and
incapable to fight the disease, their immune systems can be very well developed, and sometimes it may be enough to endure and wait for the baby to recover on her own.
Anywise, baby fever can become a dramatical experience for parents and healthcare professionals on rare occasions when the baby’s temperature reaches its peak of 41.5 C when they need to approach with extreme measures such as putting the child in
ice-cubes (extreme cold) to assure fast decline of temperature and avoid seizures.
Best Ways to Take Care of Baby with Fever
Making a baby with fever feel comfortable and simply monitoring her activities must be the best solution when addressing the fever issues.
Sometimes it is much more desirable that the baby’s overall appearance is good, and that high temperature gets controllable by traditional methods such as showers rather than using extra fever medications.
As a parent, you may want to make a surface where your baby is playing neat, without too much stuff surrounding the baby and giving her discomfort. You could also always try to remove excessive parts of clothes and use only cotton materials to dress your child.
Ensure that the baby is well-hydrated: in periods of high fever for a baby, it is advisable to give the baby small portions of distilled water besides milk. If the baby is older than six months and you have started with the introduction of solid foods and fruits, it turns out well to give the baby light fruit puree or light yogurts which will refresh her.
Together with hydration comes another combined and very important factor – monitoring the sign of dehydration, mainly meaning how often the baby is urinating and if her diaper gets wet enough. If you notice that for several hours your baby has not urinated, this can be an early alarm that the infection is or has passed on kidneys and urinary tract and that you should once again consult a doctor.
And lastly, know that when sick your kid needs much rest and the superb care which can only be provided by parents. If a baby was normally attending daycare, it would be recommended to take days off in order to avoid spreading of infection and to give priority to suiting home conditions according to the baby’s needs.