Fever In Babies – What You Need to Know
It is common for babies to have fevers as compared to adults and the reasons for the fever are also different along with the effects. If you have a baby at home who has a fever you should not be dealing with the fever yourselves on panic because it is indeed possible to provide proper treatment for the baby as required.
If the baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher it should be considered as fever. The body temperature of a baby should not be measured as that of an adult. It has often been observed that the body of a baby is warmer than adults and therefore if the baby’s rectal temperature is lower than 100.4°F it should not be considered as a fever even if the body feels warmer. A baby can be considered as having a fever only went the rectal temperature is over 100.4°F.
Temperature Measurement Among Babies
When measuring the body temperature of babies the temperature of the forehead or the underarms must not be considered as appropriate to determine a fever. The body of a baby before three years feels much warmer than adults or children.
Therefore if you suspect that your baby is running a fever you should be taking the rectal temperature with a proper thermometer designed for babies. You can thereafter decide the next course of action after getting a reading of the temperature. If things are normal there is no reason for you to panic.
Understanding The Difference Between A Bacterial And A Viral Fever
There is quite a bit of difference between a bacterial fever and a viral fever. These terms are used by many people without understanding the difference between the two. A viral fever is one when your baby contacts a common infection like a cold, cough or flu. In such cases, the fever indicates that the immunity of the baby is working to fight off the infection by itself and generally the fever subsides in three days or less. Antibiotics are not needed if the baby is suffering from a viral infection because antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.
On the other hand, if your baby is suffering from a bacterial infection which can be in the form of bacterial pneumonia, an infection of the urinary tract or an ear infection the condition could be more serious. Fever in babies that are caused by bacterial infections should be treated immediately with medications and professional care.
However, it must be understood that distinguishing between viral and bacterial fevers in babies is often difficult and therefore professional advice must be sought after.
When Do You Need To Call The Doctor
Babies that are younger than three months and has a rectal temperature of over 100.4°F should receive immediate attention. However there is no reason for panic because it could be nothing more than the common flu but nevertheless, medical attention should be sought after without delays.
Babies below two years but over three months that have a fever for 24 hours should receive attention from a doctor. If the child is displaying signs of a drop in physical activity and no improvement in the condition is being observed within the period of 24 hours seeking medical attention is the best option. If babies over two years are not showing any signs of the fever subsiding by itself in 72 hours the chances of the fever being a bacterial infection become higher and therefore medical attention will become necessary for the baby.
A fever in a baby should not be a cause for panic because getting proper advice from a pediatrician will be the best option both for the baby and the caregivers.
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