When your baby has a temperature, they can appear so unwell that as a parent, our first reaction may well be to panic. Fortunately, bringing the temperature down safely makes a huge difference to how your baby feels and behaves. Knowing how to recognize a high temperature or fever and then how to bring it down will come in very handy. Arm yourself with information and be confident that you can handle your baby when they are unwell and remember, of course, that a big part of any treatment has to include lots of TLC and cuddles.
Recognizing the Signs of a High Temperature
?A normal temperature is 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 Fahrenheit but this can vary throughout the day depending on a range of factors. A temperature above 38 in a baby under 3 months is considered high. In a baby over 3 months, a temperature over 39 is considered high.
?A flushed look and feeling hot to the touch are symptomatic of a high temperature.
?Lethargy and sleepiness are common with a fever.
?Breathing rate may be faster than normal
?Other symptoms such as coughing, digestive problems such as diarrhoea or vomiting can all be signs of an underlying illness.
Dealing with a Feverish Baby
?Keep clothing light and choose breathable cotton clothing that is loose.
?Offer feeds as normal but don?t worry too much if they are refused.
?Cool (but not cold) compresses on the forehead or the back of the neck can provide soothing relief and bring a temperature down.
?Plenty of fluids are essential to avoid dehydration.
?Infant paracetamol can be give when your baby is over 2 months of age while infant ibuprofen is suitable for babies over 3 months. Always check the dosage carefully and make sure your baby is within any minimum weight guidelines before giving them any medication. Both these medicines will lower temperature and ease pain.
A small percentage of children experience febrile convulsions when they have a high temperature. A febrile convulsion looks just like a fit; your baby may move jerkily and it can be very disturbing and frightening to witness. However, febrile convulsions are rarely dangerous and do not last for very long. Make sure your child is safe and not at risk of hurting themselves. Make sure clothing is loose and they have nothing in the mouth. Don?t restrain them, instead le the convulsion run its course and try to remain calm. The convulsion may be over within as little as 15 or 20 seconds, or it may go on for as long as 2 minutes. If the convulsion lasts longer than this then it is a cause for concern and you should call an ambulance. If you think your child has had a febrile convulsion for the first time then it is important that you take them to seek medical help at an Accident and Emergency department so that you can have your little one checked over and monitored.
When to Call the Doctor
?If you think your baby is dehydrated (few or no wet nappies over the course of 24 hours, sunken ‘soft spots? on the head and dry lips are all signs of dehydration).
?Signs of meningitis, for example a rash that does not fade under pressure, floppiness, excessive drowsiness.
?It is always acceptable to seek medical advice when you are concerned about your baby; you know your child better than anyone else and you are best placed to decide if your child needs to be seen by a health professional. Never feel that you are contacting medical help unnecessarily; it is always better to be safe.