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Food & Health

Fever in Babies: When Should You Be Worried?

When it comes to a baby fever, the best thing you can do is be prepared. When your baby is unwell, a fever is often the first sign of trouble. Fever is usually a sign that the immune system is fighting an illness or infection.

Typically, your baby’s normal body temperature should stay between 36.5°C and 37.5°C. Any reading above 38°C is considered a fever.

A few things to note about fever in babies:

  1. Over-wrapping or a warm environment can cause the baby’s body temperature to be higher
  2. How high a fever is does not indicate the severity of the illness that is causing the fever
  3. Most childhood fevers are due to viral infection which can last from five to seven days

How to take a baby’s temperature?

There are several different methods of taking a baby’s temperature. The best way to get an accurate temperature reading for a child younger than three years is by using a digital rectal thermometer. Ear thermometer, forehead thermometer and underarm readings are handy but aren’t nearly as accurate.

When to seek medical attention for fever in babies younger than 3 months old?

If your baby is below three months old and running a fever, bring him to see a doctor immediately.

When to seek medical attention for fever in babies above 3 months old?

Pay attention to your baby’s symptoms and behaviour to determine how sick they are, and ask the doctor for treatment advice based on those signs. A fever usually goes away within three to five days but regardless of your child’s age, a persistent fever is a cause for concern.

If you are really worried, and if your baby’s fever is coupled with the following symptoms, head to the A&E department right away.

  1. Appears ill, drowsy or unresponsive
  2. Difficulty breathing
  3. Has a rash that doesn’t fade easily
  4. Has a stiff neck, severe headache or seizure
  5. Inconsolable cry
  6. Persistent vomiting with presence of bile or blood
  7. The soft spot on the top of their head (fontanelle) curves outwards
  8. Weak, high-pitched cry that’s not like their normal cry

The original article was first published on Health Plus. Re-published on with permission.

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