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High temperature in baby & toddler – what to do and when to call a doctor?

Finding out your baby has developed a fever can be scary for parents, especially new parents. You might instinctively think that something has gone wrong. However, not all fevers are bad. And indeed, most fevers are nothing to be concerned about.

With this article, we aim to help you understand when not to worry about a fever and when you should take your baby to a doctor if they have a fever.

How to lower the fever in a baby?

Fever is a standard defence mechanism of the body against foreign pathogens. When bacteria, viruses, or other external harmful substances enter our body, the immune system raises the temperature of the body. This helps to kill the invading microbes.

Essentially, you need to lower their body temperature. You can accomplish this by using a cool compress on the head. It also helps if the baby’s room stays at a moderate temperature โ€“ nothing too cold, or they will be chilly.

Your baby will likely get a little cold. However, despite them feeling chilly, you shouldn’t put more blankets on them or add more layers of clothing.ย You can also give your baby a sponge bath using lukewarm water. That ought to help cool down the body through evaporation from the skin โ€“ just like sweating cools us down. But makes sure that you don’t use a cold bath. It can cause the fever to get aggravated.

Make sure that you keep your child’s fluid intake high during the fever.

Which drugs can lower fever in babies?

Acetaminophen can be used to treat fever in children older than 2 years. If your child is younger than that, you need to consult a doctor for the appropriate dosing.ย Ibuprofen can also be used for children older than 6 months.

What to avoid doing when your child has a fever?

You must never use aspirin in kids. It causes a serious medical condition known as Reye’s syndrome. If your child has flu-like symptoms, don’t use any flu remedies. Their effectiveness and side effects have not been studied in kids under 4 years of age.

Moreover, regulatory authorities have prohibited using medicines containing decongestants or antihistamines in children under 2 years. Therefore, you need to consult a pediatrician about what drugs you can use to treat the flu.

Children under 4 are also prohibited from taking any cough and cold medication. Their effects can be life-threatening. Your doctor must guide you every step of the way when using any drugs on your kids.

When should you call the doctor?

Usually, a fever is not a cause for a lot of concern and should go down on its own. However, if you observe any of the following, you need to call your doctor immediately:

  • If your baby has a fever higher than or equal toย 40ย โ„ƒ.
  • If your baby is younger than 3 months and has a fever higher than 38 โ„ƒ.
  • If your baby’s fever lasts longer than 72 hours โ€“ 24 hours in case of children younger than 2.
  • If your child also has symptoms other than the fever, including a highly sore throat, a rash, stiff neck, ear pain, or a headache.
  • If your baby gets a seizure.
  • If your baby looks extremely sick or is unresponsive.

An insight from mamahood

Fevers are generally harmless and go away on their own. It’s best to avoid giving your children any drugs to treat it. However, suppose you notice that it’s serious or that there are any other symptoms accompanying it. In that case, you should call the doctor immediately.

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