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What Should I Do If My Baby Has A Fever?

What should I do if my baby has a fever? It is important to document the fever using a thermometer. If the temperature is more than 100.4 F, then you will need to administer paracetamide and keep an eye out for symptoms.

Emergency conditions are:

  • Altered behavior
  • Seizures
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Severe vomiting
  • Multiple loose stools
  • Completely refuse to take water/fluids
  • Have not urinated for over 12 hours
  • Have moderate to severe abdominal pain
  • Have difficulty breathing
  • Have yellowish or blueish discoloration on the skin

If your child has a fever, the first thing to do is to document it. The most objective way to document your child's fever is to use a thermometer.

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A thermometer is a digital device that is kept in your child's armpit and can be used to measure the temperature.

You can also use a noncontact type (forehead infrared) thermometer, but the accuracy of this method is questionable as it is very new on the market.

I do not recommend using an ear canal type thermometer, although it is the most accurate, as it has a high price tag and is a slightly invasive technique that can make your child very uncomfortable, especially as they will need to check the temperature regularly.

Once you have documented your child's fever, you can administer a dose of Paracetamol to them.

The dose is based on their weight and your child's weight will be determined by your pediatrician. Paracetamol can be given with a gap of 6 hours if your child's temperature is over 100.4.

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If the fever persists in between paracetamol doses, tepid sponge bathing can be used. Tepid sponge bathing involves soaking a cloth, preferably cotton, in room temperature water and squeezing out the excess water, then applying it to the baby's open skin.

Fever is a symptom of an underlying issue. The most common cause of fever is a viral infection, while the second most common cause is a bacterial infection.

Rarer causes of fever include autoimmune disease, cancer, fungal infection, parasites, and foreign bodies. There are some causes of fever that you don't need to worry about, such as post-immunization or teething.

If the fever persists for more than 72 hours, blood tests and investigations for infection will be necessary (this is not a hard and fast rule).

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Please do not hesitate to seek immediate medical attention in the event of:

  • Altered behaviour
  • Seizures
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Severe vomiting
  • Multiple loose stools
  • Complete refusal to take any fluids
  • Not passing urine for over 12 hours
  • moderate to severe abdominal pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • yellowish or blue skin
  • Fever in a child less than 3 months old unless it’s post-vaccination fever
  • Dehydration

The primary symptom of a fever is that the child will not eat or drink, which is a sign of dehydration. Dehydration can cause damage to the body’s organs.

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Therefore, monitoring for dehydration is just as important as monitoring for fever. One way to check for dehydration is to see if the child is passing the same amount of urine as before the onset of the fever.

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