How To Take Care of Infants With A Fever
If you think your baby feels warm, check his or hers temperature and if it is over 100 degrees, undress the baby, or just remove some layers and take it again in 10 minutes. Infants that are sick requires one of the best treatments in the world. Newborns have very immature temperature regulators and can have an increased temperature just from over dressing. The rule of thumb is one more layer on the baby than you are comfortable in. If your baby is 3 months or under and still has a temperature over 100 degrees (or 100.4 rectally), it is time to call the doctor.
Do not give a baby under 3 months old Tylenol. A fever at this age can signify a serious infection and the baby should be evaluated by a doctor. Newborns do not have the immune system established to fight a serious infection. You do not want to mask the fever with Tylenol. If it is after office hours, go to your nearest emergency room.
If your baby is over 3 months old, a fever still warrants a call to the doctor. But there is a better chance the doctor may recommend some Tylenol, but only give your baby one if your medical doctor prescribes it. Remember Tylenol dosages are based on weight, so best to ask your health professional for a correct dosage on your baby.
Always take a baby of any age with a fever of 102 or more (that you cannot reduce) to the doctor or hospital. They are at risk for febrile seizures and the fever needs to be taken under control. If the child is over a year, you can also use Ibuprofen for fever reducing.
A good technique often used by health care providers is to alternate doses between Ibuprofen and Tylenol, but again confirm this with your doctor over the phone before you do. Infants with fever can also be treated with lukewarm baths (this is not cold, it is just below body temperature) or sponging with warm water. The evaporation of the water helps to reduce the fever.
Fevers are a normal course of any infection. But, what kind of infection it is can sometimes be tricky. It cannot be stressed enough to consult your doctor. Ask them what their policies for fevers are to take the best baby care in their institution.
But, whenever in doubt, contact them. An ordinary looking cold can cause a fever and if it remains under 102 (for a child over 6 months) and there are no other alarming symptoms (breathing problems, vomiting, diarrhea), it can usually be managed at home with just supportive care.
If any of these other symptoms are present, a trip to the doctor or nearest Emergency Room is in order. First and foremost, DON’T PANIC. Fevers are the body’s normal reaction to any infection, even mild ones. It is the body’s defenses gearing up and fighting the infection. Fevers can be our friend. Just remember these basic guidelines for babies and you will be good to go.