A Parent’s Guide To Baby Fever: Causes And Treatment

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It’s natural to panic and feel anxious when your little one gets a fever. Though most fevers aren’t serious, you can’t help feel scared and worried about your child’s health. But fever isn’t an illness. It’s the body’s way of letting you know that it’s fighting an infection.

Signs Of Baby Fever

Every child reacts differently to fever. Some are fussier while others are crankier. Hence, identifying fever is crucial. It’ll help you avoid further conditions that may worsen or endanger the health of your baby. Here’s an overview of some baby fever symptoms to watch out for: 

  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Loss of sleep and appetite
  • High temperature
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Appearing hot and flushed

Causes Of Baby Fever

Even though fever can be a good sign that the baby’s body is fighting off diseases, you must look into it further if it persists since it may indicate an illness. Fever may be caused by various factors, such as:

  • Viral Infections: They’re usually the primary cause of fever in babies and are a common symptom of most illnesses. They include respiratory infections, the flu, and cold.
  • Pneumonia: It’s another kind of illness that may cause breathing difficulties for your baby.
  • Meningitis: It’s a dangerous disease if it isn’t treated earlier since it can lead to permanent infection of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Reaction to vaccination: Some babies may have a fever due to a vaccine, which will subside after some time.
  • Dressing: Fever can result from your baby dressing too warmly or spending a lot of time outdoors on a hot day.

How To Treat Baby Fever

There are different methods you can use to treat fever while at home, as outlined below:

  • Administer medicines: You can give them over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen, paracetamol, or ibuprofen. What you give your baby will depend on their age and weight. Don’t treat your child’s fever with aspirin unless the doctor recommends it. If your baby is less than two months old or has a medical problem, it’ll be risky to treat them with an over-the-counter medication, so make a point of visiting your doctor for a prescription. However, fever medications only counter the temperature issue, not the cause. 
  • Offer a lot of fluids: Give your baby a lot of water to drink to ensure the water level in their body bounces back to the optimal level. You can consider giving them milk, ice pops, soup, or formula. Avoid anything that’ll make them pee a lot because it’ll lead to dehydration. In case of vomiting or diarrhea, consider giving them a rehydration solution but not before consulting with a doctor and limiting their sugar and fruit intake. However, you can give them fruits like cherries to restore their appetite once the fever wears off.
  • Make your baby feel comfortable: You can dress them in lighter clothes or cover them with a lighter blanket or shawl to allow heat to escape from the body, especially in a hot environment. Sponge bathing your baby will help reduce the temperature for a few minutes, but it might also make the baby more uncomfortable. Cold baths and ice packs aren’t advisable since your baby might get chills that’ll result in a higher temperature. Rubbing alcohol isn’t safe either because they might get poisoned when it’s absorbed. If you’re taking them to a daycare or are living in an environment with many people, it’s wise to keep them indoors for a while. This way, you’ll limit the spread of diseases.

How To Tell It’s A Fever

You can tell your child’s temperature is high by a gentle touch on their forehead or anywhere on their skin. However, you won’t get an accurate reading from this method, which is better known as tactile temperature. 

To get an accurate temperature, use a digital thermometer. You’ll know your child has a fever when:

  • The rectal temperature is or above 38°C (100.4°F).
  • The temperature from the axillary position reads 37.2°C (99°F) and above.
  • The oral temperature is 37.8°C (100°F) and above.

Sometimes, baby fever may result from a simple cold or a viral infection. It’s hard to tell whether your little one is really sick by checking for fever, so it’s best to ask for help from a professional. However, a high temperature doesn’t mean your baby has a serious medical condition because some infant diseases and infections don’t cause fever. Other health conditions might result in a lower body temperature of about 36.1°C (97°F) and below. 

How To Take Your Baby’s Temperature

As mentioned earlier, there are different ways of taking the temperature of your baby:

  • Over the rectum (rectally): It’s the easiest method to use when taking your baby’s temperature, and it gives the most accurate readings. You have to clean and apply petroleum jelly to the thermometer. Lay your infant on the bed either on their back or belly, bend their knees towards their chest, and gently insert the thermometer into their rectum until you hear a beeping sound. Retrieve and read the temperature.
  • Under the arm (axillary): Place the thermometer under the arm and remove it after the beep to read the temperature.
  • Via the mouth (orally): You must clean the thermometer before inserting it into your child’s mouth. Read the temperature once there’s a beep.

When To See A Doctor

You can take your baby to a doctor when you encounter the following conditions:

  • The fever doesn’t go down after a day, even after taking antibiotics.
  • They look ill.
  • They refuse to take fluids.
  • They experience pain when urinating.
  • They’re dealing with dehydration problems (Their lips are dry, there are no tears when they cry, they seem less active and alert, or you’ve noticed that you’re using fewer diapers than usual).
  • They’re vomiting consistently and have diarrhea.
  • They have trouble breathing.
  • They keep crying.
  • They have severe convulsions or seizures.
  • They keep complaining about a specific thing.
  • They have a rash.


As a parent, you can’t help feel alarmed and afraid when your baby gets a fever. Fevers aren’t usually serious, but they can get dangerous because of an underlying medical condition. Thus, it’s important to understand the symptoms, causes, as well as the treatment options of baby fever. Whatever the case, just stay calm and seek medical attention when needed.




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