A fever is a common symptom of illness. It plays an important part in fighting infections and indicating a functioning immune system. In most cases, it is caused by a cold or another viral infection. However, we know it can be worrisome to find your baby with a potential fever. The best thing to do is not to panic and to know the right steps to take.
Here are 3 steps to deal with your baby’s fever:
1. Check Your Baby’s Temperature
Your baby has a fever is he or she:
- has a rectal, ear, or forehead temperature of 38C or 100.4F or higher.
- has an oral temperature of 37.8C or 100F or higher.
- has an armpit temperature of 99F or higher.
If you are taking the armpit temperature, try to couple it with another area since an armpit temperature isn’t the most accurate.
For baby thermometer types and recommendations based on age, please see: Top 3 Baby Thermometers
For how to use these thermometers, please see: How To Correctly Take Your Baby’s Temperature
2. Medicating your baby
If you would like to give your baby medication, for babies between 3 to 6 months, stick to acetaminophen. If your child is 6 months or older, ibuprofen can be given as well. Make sure you are not giving more than the recommended amount by checking the label. Please do not give aspirin to babies as it greatly increases the risk of Reye’s syndrome, which is a rare disorder that causes brain and liver damage.
Usually, if your baby is 6 months or older, drinking lots of fluids, sleeping, and playing is good enough as a “treatment” for them.
3. When to see a doctor
- For babies age 3 months or younger, with a temperature of 38C/100.4F or higher.
- For babies age 3 to 6 months, with a temperature up to 38.9C/102F and seems unusually irritable or lethargic.
- For babies age 6 to 24 months, with a temperature of 38.9C/102F that does not subside after one day without any other signs. However, if your baby has other symptoms, such as a cold, cough, or diarrhea, do consider visiting the doctor sooner.