In this article, you will find general information about fever in babies and what you can do yourself to lower a fever. If your baby feels warm and lethargic, he may have a fever. You can measure fever with a fever thermometer; if the temperature is higher than 38 degrees, there is a fever.
Temperature Of The Body
A normal body temperature in children and adults is between 36.5 degrees and 37.5 degrees. At night the temperature is lowest, and in the afternoon the temperature is highest. One speaks of an increase when the temperature exceeds 37.5 degrees.
There is a fever when the temperature is higher than 38 degrees. In young babies, body temperature can change quickly; fever can set in from one moment to the next. Sometimes for no apparent reason, the fever can also subside within an hour. It can therefore be difficult to determine when something should be ‘done’ with the fever.
Measuring Fever in babies
By feeling your baby’s forehead and cheeks with your hand (the outside), you can feel whether they have a normal temperature or are (too) warm. Then you can measure your baby’s temperature with a thermometer. You can use an ordinary fever thermometer for this, but you can also use an ear thermometer.
The most reliable method is to measure fever with an ordinary fever thermometer in the anus. Other ways to measure the fever with an ordinary fever thermometer are under the tongue or under the armpits. It will take a lot longer before you have measured a reliable temperature.
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Causes Of Fever in babies
Fever is an indicator that something is going on in your baby’s body. Fever is therefore not a disease or virus in itself, but a symptom. For example, fever in babies could mean that there is a bacterial infection in the body that the body has to ‘fight’ against.
Viruses and infections are the most common causes of fever. When the body has to deal with harmful bacteria, the body temperature rises so that the harmful bacteria can be eliminated.
Consequences Of Fever
Babies with a (high) fever will in many cases have other ailments such as:
- abdominal cramp
Together, complaints indicate that something is wrong with your baby’s body. For example, a baby may have the flu or a bad cold.
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When Is A Fever In Babies Dangerous?
A high fever in babies can be dangerous for babies. You speak of a high fever when your baby’s temperature rises to 40 degrees or higher. Such a high temperature is difficult for your baby’s body to process and can have dire consequences.
For example, a baby can have a febrile convulsion due to a high fever. A febrile convulsion can look distressing to parents because the baby’s body moves uncontrollably. In most cases (96%) febrile convulsions in babies are not dangerous, but sometimes febrile convulsions can lead to meningitis. The risk of recurrent febrile seizures is highest in babies between 12 and 24 months and may also be hereditary.
When Should You Consult The Doctor?
Parents sometimes find it difficult to determine when to consult a doctor. The following things can be said about this:
- If your baby is easy to talk to and responds well, you can look at it for a while
- It is wise to contact the doctor if there is a rash, lethargy, very high fever (higher than 40 degrees), all kinds of additional complaints, and in case of febrile convulsions.
- If your baby is very young (up to six months old), it is also wise to contact the doctor
Parents who have doubts about the health of their baby should still contact their doctor. This can remove doubts and examine the baby further.
What Can You Do About A Fever In Babies?
Some things you can do yourself:
- Give your baby enough fluids to drink, for example, give an extra bottle of juice
- Do not dress your baby (too) warmly and turn down the heating slightly
- Give your baby a suppository (paracetamol) if the fever is higher than 38.5 degrees
- Let your baby sleep well but wake him up to eat and drink