A raised body temperature in an infant raises the level of alarm and concern in his parents. Fortunately, fevers in infants do not usually signify a serious health problem. An elevated temperature means your baby’s body is doing what it is supposed to do: fight off an infection. Still, a fever in a young infant, or a high fever in an older baby, is cause for concern and should be checked by the baby’s doctor.
Determine whether the baby even has a fever. Some babies feel overly warm because they cannot control their body temperatures very well when dressed in layers. If your baby cools down when she is undressed, she does not have a fever.
Take his temperature. Infants younger than 6 weeks old who have a temperature of 101 or higher should be taken to a doctor right away. Infants up to 3 months old with a fever of 101 or higher should be taken to a doctor within the next day. Infants older than 3 months should see a doctor if the temperature is 104 or higher or if it is above 101 and accompanied by other symptoms, such as lethargy or severe irritability.
Undress your baby to cool her down. Or give her a lukewarm bath to lower her body temperature, or wipe her down with a cool washcloth.
Feed your baby plenty of liquids. In many cases, fever in infants is caused by a viral infection, which can also cause vomiting or diarrhea. For this reason, keeping your baby hydrated is very important.
Give your baby a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Follow the directions according to the instructions on the label for the size and age of your infant. Ibuprofen should not be given to babies under 6 months old, according to Dr. Spock. Check with a health professional before giving your infant fever medications.
Soothe your baby with a pacifier, rocking or other comfort measures. Babies with fevers can be uncomfortable and fussy and will appreciate the extra attention and love.
- Never give an infant or child under age 12 aspirin to treat a fever or for any other reason.
- baby image by Dron from Fotolia.com