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:
- Over-wrapping or a warm environment can cause the baby’s body temperature to be higher
- How high a fever is does not indicate the severity of the illness that is causing the fever
- 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.
- Appears ill, drowsy or unresponsive
- Difficulty breathing
- Has a rash that doesn’t fade easily
- Has a stiff neck, severe headache or seizure
- Inconsolable cry
- Persistent vomiting with presence of bile or blood
- The soft spot on the top of their head (fontanelle) curves outwards
- Weak, high-pitched cry that’s not like their normal cry