Newborn babies and young children have underdeveloped immune and temperature control systems, which consequently make them more susceptible to infection or illness. Because of this, parents, particularly new mothers, get apprehensive at the very first sign of infant fever. Usual causes of a baby’s fever are viral infections, bacterial infections, and allergic reactions among others. While fever activates the body’s immune system, it can also be an indication of a more serious illness. Hence, a child’s fever should not be taken lightly. When your baby is flushed, hot, sweaty, and feel warm to touch, it is time to be more vigilant and respond appropriately to the situation. Instead of getting nervous, stay calm and consider the following steps to help you lower infant fever and make your child feel more comfortable.
- Check the infant temperature with a thermometer. To get a correct reading, do not take your baby’s temperature right after he has had a bath. An infant has a fever if the temperature is above 37.5 degrees Celsius. Take your child’s temperature at intervals. It is recommended to call your doctor right away if your child’s temperature reaches 38 degrees Celsius especially if the fever has been on and off for several days. If your baby is manifesting symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, swelling of the soft spot on his head, whimpering, breathing problems, etc., it is best to rush him to the ER. While it is natural for babies to get fever, it may indicate bacterial infection or other illness that need immediate medical attention.
- Sponge your baby using lukewarm, not too cold or icy water. Dab the baby’s back and the back of his neck. Place a damp towel across the baby’s forehead. Repeating this process will allow the heat to dissipate slowly.
- Keep your baby hydrated. Give your child more liquids when his body temperature is elevated. You may give him small amounts of sterile water using a dropper in addition to breast milk or formula.
- Do not give any medicine – liquid or suppository, unless prescribed by your doctor. For infant treatment prescribed by the doctor, always read labels and strictly adhere to the physician’s orders to ensure you are administering the right dosage to your child.
- Keep your room properly ventilated. If your baby has chills you may cover him in a blanket otherwise keep the blankets away and do not wrap him in a bundle as warmth can only make the fever worse. Dress your child in cool, light clothing.
After following the procedures, signs of improvements within an hour or two must be visible otherwise you need to bring your child to the doctor. Even if the baby looks fine, if his temperature remains elevated, it is best to seek medical attention. If however the fever subsides continue monitoring your baby’s temperature and condition for 24 hours. Do not be complacent and think that it is just a usual infant cold or bug. Always stay alert and never leave things to chance.