Fever in babies


A fever can be a sign that the body is fighting an infection. When the body’s defense (immune) system is turned on by a germ, lots of reactions happen in the body. Fever is one sign of these reactions. Fever is not a disease or health problem itself.

Measuring body temperature

Children frequently feel warm to the touch when they have a fever. To verify that your child has a fever, utilize a thermometer to determine your child’s body temperature level.

In a baby, the most precise method to determine temperature level is with a thermometer placed into the rectum (rectal temperature). A rectal temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher means a fever. In older children, the temperature level can be determined by mouth (oral temperature level). An oral temperature of 37.8°C (100°F) or higher implies a fever. Other techniques of measuring temperature level may sometimes be useful, but the measurement might be less accurate. These techniques include:

  • utilizing a thermometer in the armpit (axillary temperature);
  • a temperature of 37.2°C (99°F) or greater means a fever. using an ear thermometer (tympanic temperature ); a temperature level of 37.5°C (99.5°F) or greater means a fever.

What causes fever in babies?

Many different infections can cause a fever. To learn what is causing your child’s fever, the doctor will look at other signs or symptoms of the disease, not the fever itself. How high a fever is does not assist the doctor to decide whether an infection is moderate or severe, or whether an infection is from a bacterial or viral illness. It is essential to know how many days of fever your child has had. You should keep a record of your child’s fevers so that you can accurately tell the doctor how long the fever has existed.

Fever might likewise be triggered by other conditions:

  • A mild increase in body temperature can occur with exercise or too much clothing, after a hot bath or shower, or in heat.
  • Seldom, heat stroke or exposure to particular medications or drugs can cause a severe and potentially harmful boost in body temperature.
  • Vaccinations can cause fever in babies

Some non-infectious health problems and inflammatory conditions can cause frequent or consistent fevers.

Many people think that teething causes fever. Research reveals us that teething does not cause real fever. If your baby has a fever, do not assume it could be due to teething It is very important to see your child’s doctor.

What to anticipate when your child has a fever

Fevers can make children feel unpleasant. Typically, these symptoms are mild and the child might be somewhat irritable or have aches and discomforts. Some children are less active and more drowsy. Some fevers may be related to shaking (chills or rigors) as the body temperature is altering. This type of shaking is one way for the body to attempt to control the temperature. It is not a seizure or convulsion, and is not associated with modifications in the child’s level of consciousness.

Around 5% of babies in between the ages of 6 months and 6 years may have a shaking episode called a seizure or convulsion related to a fever. These are called febrile seizures. Your child must see a doctor after a febrile seizure, however febrile seizures are generally not hazardous.

How frequently the fever repeats and how long the fever lasts depend primarily on the kind of infection triggering the fever. Many fevers with viruses last for 2 to 3 days, however sometimes they can last as long as 2 weeks. When the fever is brought on by a bacterial infection, it may continue till the child is treated with an antibiotic medicine.

Taking care of your child with a fever


Keep your child gently dressed. A lot of temperature is lost through the skin, so overdressing or bundling your child might lead to a higher fever and can make your child more uneasy. If your child is having chills or shivers, give her a light blanket. Keep the space temperature level at a level that is comfy for you, when gently dressed.

Additional fluids

Fever will make your child’s body lose somewhat more fluid (liquid), so motivate your child to consume extra fluids. Cool water or beverages might be valuable, but it does not actually matter whether the drinks are warm or cool.


Sponging is not necessary to assist lower body temperature level, and may make your child more uncomfortable. Sponging might just cool the beyond your child’s body and cause her to shiver, without truly influencing the internal body temperature. Use sponging only in an emergency situation such as heat stroke.


Medication can assist to minimize the fever. Medicines may only minimize the fever by 1 ° C to 2 ° C( 2 ° F to 3 ° F), and might not bring the temperature level down to typical. Fevers might likewise cycle up and down by themselves, so it is not constantly simple to tell whether a fever is lowered since of medication or due to the fact that of the natural fever pattern. If your child is sleeping conveniently, it is not needed to wake her up to give these medicines.

Two types of medications are typically recommended for managing fever. They are:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol ®, Tempra, Abenol ®, drug store and other brands)
  • ibuprofen (Advil ®, Motrin ®, Brufen, drug store and other brand names).

They are both readily available in tablets, capsules, and liquid formulas of different strengths. Acetaminophen is likewise offered as a rectal suppository. This is an excellent method of delivery for infants considering that you put the medication directly into their anus (bottom). Just a rectal suppository can be utilized by doing this. Do not put a tablet intended for the mouth into a child’s rectum.

Your doctor or pharmacist can assist you decide on the most appropriate formula and stamina for your child. The right dose for a child is based upon body weight. An approximated dose is normally offered on the medication package.

These medicines are utilized to assist handle the fever and making your child more comfortable, but they do not treat the underlying cause of the fever.

If your baby is less than 3 months old and has a fever, you need to see a doctor right away. Fever in a newborn might be a sign of a major infection. If this occurs on the weekend, do not wait to see your doctor. Go to the nearest Emergency Department to have your baby evaluated right away by a doctor. Do not provide any fever medications to your baby unless a doctor states so.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen do not interact with each other. They might be similarly reliable in lowering a temperature level.

If your child has a pre-existing medical condition or is already taking other medications, speak with your child’s doctor making sure that acetaminophen or ibuprofen is safe for your child.

Do not use ASA (Aspirin) to treat your child’s fever.

Although unusual, ASA (acetylsalicylic acid or Aspirin) has actually been connected to a severe condition called Reye’s syndrome. Do not offer ASA to a child to handle a fever unless your doctor has specifically told you to offer it. You might need to check the label of other medicines or ask your pharmacist to make sure that they do not consist of ASA.

Fever in baby: when to take to hospital?

See your child’s regular doctor or go to the nearby Emergency Department immediately if your child has a fever and:

  • your baby is less than 3 months old.
  • you have actually just recently returned from travelling abroad.
  • your child establishes a rash that resembles little purple dots that do not disappear when you apply pressure with your fingers (blanching).
  • your child is not able to keep down any fluids and appears dehydrated.
  • your child’s skin looks really pale or grey, or is cool or mottled.
  • your child is having consistent pain.
  • your child is lethargic (very weak) or challenging to awaken.
  • your child has a stiff neck.
  • your child has actually a seizure associated with fever.
  • your baby is looking or acting extremely ill.
  • your child seems puzzled or delirious.
  • your child does not utilize his arm or leg normally or chooses not to stand.
  • your child has problems breathing.
  • your child sobs continuously and can not be settled.

See a doctor within 24 hours if your baby has a fever and:

  • your baby is between 3 and 6 months old.
  • your child has particular pain, such as ear or throat pain that might require assessment.
  • your baby has actually had a fever for more than 3 days.
  • the fever went away for over 24 hours and then returned.
  • your child has a bacterial infection that is being relieved with an antibiotic, but the fever is not going away after 2 to 3 days of beginning the antibiotic.
  • your baby sobs when going to the bathroom.
  • your baby’s urine smells bad.
  • you have other concerns or concerns.

Fever: Myths and facts

There are numerous myths about fever, and a few of these myths might make you stress needlessly. If your child has a fever, the most important thing is how your child looks and acts.

Mith: The specific variety of the temperature works

That is not true! The most fundamental part of evaluating a child with fever is how the child looks and acts, specifically after dealing with the fever with medication. A child who appears well however has a high temperature, for instance, is less worrying than a child who just has a mild fever, but who appears rather unwell or is not responsive. Some minor viral illnesses may have high fevers connected with them, and some serious bacterial infections might be related to an unusually low body temperature level.

Mith: Fevers cause mental retardation

That is not true! The majority of fevers connected with infections are less than 42 ° C(108 ° F). These fevers do not cause mental retardation. Only a consistent body temperatures greater than 44 ° C (110 ° F) can cause brain damage. These body temperature levels are more likely to occur with heat stroke or after direct exposure to specific street drugs or medications, such as anaesthetic or some psychiatric medicines. They do not occur with the usual infections that children can have.

Mith: Fevers are bad for babies

That is not true! A fever is simply a sign that the body’s defense system has been turned on. Fevers assist to eliminate infections because many bacteria do not survive too at slightly greater body temperature levels. In this sense, although the child may be uncomfortable, most fevers have an advantageous impact and may assist the body fight infection. The main need to use medication to reduce fever is to make the child feel better.

Mith: Fevers ought to constantly react to an anti-fever medication

That is not true! Anti-fever medication normally assists to bring the fever down, however this is not constantly so. Sometimes a fever continues after providing the medicine

Mith: Fevers need to react rapidly to antibiotic medication

That is not true! Antibiotics are just beneficial in treating bacterial infections. They have no impact on viral infections. Most infections in children are triggered by bacterias, so an antibiotic will have no result on them. For bacterial infections, the antibiotic will start working to fight the bacteria as quickly as it is provided, but it may take 2-3 days before the fever disappears.

Bottom line

  • If your baby is 3 months of age or younger and has a fever, see your doctor immediately.
  • Fever is normally a sign that the body is battling an infection.
  • Focus on how your child looks and acts. Keep a record of the variety of days of fever.
  • To keep your child comfy, do not dress your child too warmly. Give your child lots of fluids to drink, and offer acetaminophen or ibuprofen if it appears to make your child feel much better.


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