Baby has a fever, what should I do?
The first time baby has a fever may be very worrying. Don’t panic: it’s usually nothing and happens to all children, you just need to know what to do!
Here’s what you need to know about fever in babies.
Fever is very common in children aged six months to one year; and your baby is most likely to come into contact with viruses or bacteria when you take him out.
You are obviously going to worry when baby is not feeling well, but remember that in most cases (other than in the case of a specific illness or other health problems), it is a completely natural reaction that your child will overcome without too much difficulty.
USE A THERMOMETER
Although you may be able to tell if your child has a fever just by touching his brow, the best way to check your child's temperature is to use a thermometer. There are many types of thermometers on the market, but the fastest and most accurate are digital thermometers or even the professional thermometers used by paediatricians (but be careful not to break it!)
WHEN TO CALL THE DOCTOR?
It’s hard not to rush your child off to the doctor or the ER when your child has a fever, but the best thing to do is wait a couple of hours, so that your doctor has more to go on and can give you a proper diagnosis.
Here's what to look for:
⦁ Is your child tired and listless or is he still active and lively despite the high temperature?
⦁ Is your child refusing to eat?
⦁ Does your child have other symptoms like a cough or earache?
⦁ Is your child fretful and crying readily?
⦁ Is your child’s skin pale or mottled?
You need to call your doctor if the fever lasts more than 24 hours despite the use of antipyretics, if your baby is just a few months old or if there are other symptoms like those described.
REMEDIES AND ADVICE
You should only give your child Paracetamol if his temperature climbs to 38° and more, following your doctor’s instructions. It may be easier to get your child to take liquid medication or drops but remember that the dose should be calculated according to the weight of your child.
Most importantly, stay calm and let the illness run its course, making your child more comfortable by giving him hot drinks and medicines for the other symptoms.
Tiepid sponging and lukewarm baths are discouraged: this reduces heat loss and can trap heat in deeper parts of the body. The child may then get worse.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Trust your instincts, you know your child better than anybody else so if you feel your child is fretful and crying too readily call your doctor.
It may be very worrying when your baby has a fever for the first time; we hope our advice will help you cope more easily.
What do you do when your child has a fever? Tell us about your experience!