What Causes Baby Fever and How to Treat It : 10 Effective Ways
What causes baby fever and how to treat it : 10 effective ways to help parents build awareness about the matter, methods to detect and prevent it from worsening.
Baby fever, also known as a pediatric fever, is a common ailment among infants. It is defined as a body temperature that exceeds the normal range of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fevers can be caused by a variety of factors, including infection, inflammation, teething, vaccinations, allergies, and overheating.
While a fever can be a sign of an underlying illness, it is also the body's natural response to fight off infection.
It is important to understand the causes of baby fever and how to properly treat it in order to keep your baby comfortable and healthy. In this article, we'll cover the reasons for baby fever and the methods to treat it. We even shared a helpful video on this topic.
10 Effective Ways in Treating Baby Fever in Babies
- Keep the baby hydrated by offering frequent small sips of water or breastmilk/formula.
- Dress the baby in light, comfortable baby dress to avoid overheating.
- Give the baby a lukewarm bath or use a damp cloth to lower their body temperature.
- Use a fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by a pediatrician.
- Provide a cool mist humidifier in the baby's room to keep the air moist.
- Place a cold pack on the baby's forehead or cheeks to help bring down the fever.
- Encourage the baby to rest and get plenty of sleep.
- Monitor the baby's temperature regularly and keep a log of the readings.
- Avoid giving the baby any over-the-counter cold or flu medications without consulting a pediatrician.
- Seek medical attention if the baby's fever is extremely high or if it persists for more than a couple of days.
Jesse Cruz, Founder, Dashprophet
Causes of Fever in Babies
There are several common causes of baby fever, each with its own set of symptoms and treatment options.
Understanding the cause of a fever is important in order to properly treat the condition and ensure the health and well-being of your baby.
- Infections: One of the most common causes of baby fever is infection. Bacteria and viruses, such as the flu and the common cold, can cause a fever in babies. These types of infections are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and sore throat. In order to properly treat a fever caused by infection, it is important to address the underlying infection. This may involve giving the baby an antibiotic if the infection is caused by bacteria or antiviral medication if caused by a virus.
- Teething: Another common cause of baby fever is teething. This is the process by which a baby's first set of teeth begin to emerge from the gums. While teething is a normal and natural process, it can cause discomfort and fever in some babies. Symptoms of teething may include drooling, chewing on objects, and irritability. To help alleviate the discomfort associated with teething, it is important to give the baby something to chew on, such as a teething ring.
- Vaccinations: Some babies may develop a fever after receiving vaccinations. This is usually a short-lived and mild reaction, and is a sign that the body is building immunity to the disease the vaccine is designed to protect against. The fever usually subsides within a few days and can be treated with over-the-counter fever reducers.
- Allergies: Allergies can also cause a fever in babies. Allergic reactions can be caused by a variety of things, including food, pollen, and animal dander. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include a rash, hives, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect your baby is having an allergic reaction, it is important to seek medical help immediately.
- Overheating: Babies are more susceptible to overheating than adults, and this can cause a fever. Overheating can occur when the baby is dressed in too many layers of cute baby boy onesies, when the room is too warm, or when the baby is exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time. To prevent overheating, it is important to dress your baby in light, breathable baby boy clothing and keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Dehydration: Dehydration can also cause a fever in babies. When a baby is dehydrated, their body temperature rises as a response to conserve water. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, little or no urine, sunken eyes, and lethargy. To prevent dehydration, it is important to ensure that your baby is getting enough fluids, especially during hot weather or when they are sick.
Clare Martin, Director of Operations, Ustma Consortium
Symptoms of Baby Fever in Babies
Baby fever is a common ailment among infants and young children, and it is important to be aware of the symptoms in order to properly treat the condition and ensure the health and well-being of your baby.
However, there are other symptoms that may accompany a fever, depending on the underlying cause.
- Elevated body temperature: The most obvious symptom of baby fever is an elevated body temperature. This can be measured using a thermometer and is usually above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It's important to note that a baby's normal temperature may vary depending on their age, so it's best to consult with your pediatrician to determine what is considered a fever for your baby.
- Irritability: Babies with a fever may be more irritable than usual. They may be fussier, cry more, and have difficulty sleeping. This is because a fever can cause discomfort and pain.
- Lack of appetite: Some babies may lose their appetite when they have a fever. They may not be interested in eating or drinking and may have trouble breastfeeding or taking a bottle.
- Changes in sleep patterns: Fevers can cause changes in sleep patterns. Some babies may sleep more than usual, while others may have trouble sleeping.
- Coughing, sneezing and runny nose: If the fever is caused by an infection such as the flu or the common cold, the baby may also have symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose.
- Vomiting: Some babies may experience vomiting when they have a fever. This can be caused by a variety of factors such as a stomach virus or an ear infection.
Sarah Lewen, Fractional CMO, Srl Ventures
How to Treat Baby Fever for Babies
Treatment of baby fever depends on the underlying cause of the fever. However, there are some general measures that can be taken to make your baby more comfortable and reduce their fever.
- Provide fluids: Make sure your baby is getting enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Offer water, breastmilk, or formula as appropriate for their age and development. If your baby is not able to drink, you may need to consider an intravenous fluid treatment.
- Dress your baby in light clothing: Dress your baby in light clothing to help them stay cool. Overdressing can cause the body temperature to rise, which can make the fever worse.
- Use a fever reducer: You can use a fever reducer such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce your baby's fever. These medications can be given in liquid form and are available over-the-counter. It's important to follow the dosage instructions on the label, and consult with your pediatrician before giving any medication to your baby.
- Use a lukewarm bath: A lukewarm bath can help to reduce a fever. The water should be around 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool water will help to bring the fever down, but not too cool as to cause shivering, which can raise the body temperature.
- Provide a cool compress: You can place a cool compress on your baby's forehead or on the back of their neck. This will help to bring the fever down. You can make a compress by soaking a clean cloth or an old baby boy clothe in cool water and wringing it out.
- Keep your baby comfortable: Make sure your baby is comfortable and has a good environment for rest. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, and make sure your baby has a comfortable place to sleep.
- Treat the underlying cause: If your baby's fever is caused by an infection, it's important to treat the underlying cause. Your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics if the fever is caused by a bacterial infection. In some cases, antiviral medications may be prescribed for viral infections.
- Seek medical attention: If your baby's fever is high, lasts for more than 24 hours, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a severe headache, or a rash, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Geoff Matous, President, Wellinks
When to Seek Medical Help for Babies with Fever
It's important to seek medical help if your baby's fever is high, lasts for more than 24 hours, or is accompanied by other symptoms. Here are some signs that indicate it's time to seek medical attention for your baby:
- High fever: A fever is considered high when the temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in babies less than 3 months old, or 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) in babies older than 3 months old.
- Prolonged fever: If your baby's fever lasts for more than 24 hours at home, it's important to seek medical attention. This is especially important if your baby is less than 3 months old, as a prolonged fever in this age group can be a sign of a serious infection.
- Other symptoms: If your baby's fever is accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a severe headache, or a rash, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Crying excessively: Crying excessively is also one of the symptoms that indicates the baby is not comfortable and might be experiencing a fever.
- Vomiting: If your baby is experiencing vomiting, it's important to seek medical help. This could be an indication of an underlying illness or infection.
- Lethargy: If your baby seems to be lethargic and unresponsive, it's important to seek medical attention.
- Lack of appetite: If your baby is refusing to eat or drink, it's important to seek medical attention as this can be a sign of a serious infection.
- Unusual skin color: If your baby's skin appears pale, yellow or blue, it's important to seek medical attention as this can be a sign of anemia or other serious conditions.
- Persistent crying: Persistent crying that is not soothed by comfort or feeding is also a sign of serious infection.
It's important to note that these symptoms can be caused by a variety of illnesses or infections, so it's always best to consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns. They will be able to determine the cause of your baby's fever and provide the appropriate treatment.
Dr. Muria Nisbett, DBA., Owner, Healing Marketplace
Prevention of Baby Fever in Babies
Preventing fever in babies can be a challenging task, as many factors can contribute to the development of a fever.
However, there are several steps that parents and caregivers can take to reduce the likelihood of a fever occurring in babies.
- Keep your baby clean and dry: Regularly cleaning and changing your baby's diaper can help prevent infections and keep your baby's skin dry.
- Practice good hygiene: Washing your hands frequently and keeping your baby's environment clean can help prevent the spread of germs and infections.
- Breastfeed your baby: Breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect your baby from infections.
- Keep your baby warm: Keeping your baby warm can help prevent colds and flu, which can lead to fever.
- Vaccinate your baby: Vaccinations can help protect your baby from serious infections such as measles, chickenpox, and meningitis, which can cause fever.
- Avoid over-bundling: Over-bundling your baby can cause them to overheat, increasing their risk of fever. Make sure your baby is dressed appropriately for the weather and room temperature.
- Keep your baby away from sick people: If someone in your household is sick, it's best to keep your baby away from them to prevent the spread of infection.
- Use a fever reducer: If your baby does develop a fever, using a fever reducer such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help bring the fever down and make your baby more comfortable.
- Keep your baby hydrated: Keeping your baby hydrated is important to prevent fever. Offer your baby fluids, such as water, breastmilk, or formula, every 2 hours.
- Monitor your baby's temperature: Regularly check your baby's temperature to monitor for fever. If your baby's temperature is high, seek medical attention.
Nancy Thomas, Program Director, Colorado Christian University
Home Remedies for Baby Fever in Babies
There are several home remedies that can be used to help reduce a baby's fever and make them more comfortable.
- Give your baby a lukewarm bath: A lukewarm bath can help bring down a fever by reducing your baby's body temperature. Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold, and avoid using soap or bubble baths, as these can dry out your baby's skin.
- Use a cool compress: Placing a cool compress on your baby's forehead or on the back of their neck can help reduce their fever. Use a clean, damp cloth and make sure it's not too cold to avoid causing chills.
- Dress your baby in lightweight clothing: Dressing your baby in lightweight clothing can help prevent overheating and reduce the risk of fever. Avoid over-bundling your baby, as this can cause them to overheat.
- Keep your baby hydrated: Keeping your baby hydrated is important to prevent fever. Offer your baby fluids, such as water, breastmilk, or formula, every 2 hours.
- Provide a humid environment: A humid environment can help relieve congestion and make it easier for your baby to breathe, which can help reduce their fever. You can use a humidifier or place a bowl of water near your baby's crib.
- Use a fever reducer: If your baby does develop a fever, using a fever reducer such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help bring the fever down and make your baby more comfortable. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the package and never give aspirin to a baby.
- Keep your baby's room cool: Keeping your baby's room cool can help prevent overheating and reduce the risk of fever. Keep the room temperature at around 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep your baby comfortable: Make sure your baby is comfortable and has a clean diaper, as a dirty diaper can cause discomfort and lead to fever.
- Give your baby some TLC: Sometimes, the best way to help your baby feel better is to give them extra love and attention. Hold your baby and talk to them, sing to them, or read to them. This can help them feel more secure and comforted.
- Consult a pediatrician: If you are unsure about how to treat your baby's fever or if their fever persists or gets worse, it's best to consult a pediatrician. They can advise you on the best course of action and determine if there is an underlying condition that needs to be treated.
Colleen Nguyen, MPH, Manager, Broad Institute Of Mit And Harvard
How to Take Baby's Temperature for a Baby Fever
There are several different methods for taking a baby's temperature, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
It is important to choose the method that is best for your baby, as well as to use the method correctly to ensure an accurate reading.
- One of the most common methods for taking a baby's temperature is with a digital rectal thermometer. This method is considered the most accurate for babies, but it can be uncomfortable for the baby and requires a certain level of skill to use correctly. To take a baby's temperature with a digital rectal thermometer, the thermometer should be lubricated with a small amount of petroleum jelly. The thermometer should then be gently inserted into the baby's rectum and left in place for about one minute. The reading should be taken when the thermometer beeps.
- Another common method for taking a baby's temperature is with an ear thermometer. This method is considered less accurate than the digital rectal method, but it is much more comfortable for the baby and can be used easily at home. To take a baby's temperature with an ear thermometer, the thermometer should be inserted into the baby's ear canal and left in place for about one minute. The reading should be taken when the thermometer beeps.
- A third method for taking a baby's temperature is by using a temporal artery thermometer. This method is non-invasive and easy to use. The thermometer is placed on the baby's forehead and scans the temporal artery to take the reading. This method is considered less accurate than ear or rectal thermometer.
- Lastly, a fourth method is by taking an axillary temperature, which is taken under the armpit. This method is considered the least accurate and should only be used as a last resort if other methods are unavailable. To take an axillary temperature, place the thermometer under the baby's armpit and hold the arm closed for about one minute. The reading should be taken when the thermometer beeps.
Chris Taylor, Fractional Finance Lead, Ezer21
Common Misconceptions About Baby fever in Babies
One common misconception about baby fever is that fevers are always dangerous for babies.
In fact, a fever is the body's natural response to infection or illness and can actually help the body fight off the infection.
It is important to understand that a fever itself is not dangerous, but rather the underlying cause of the fever should be the focus of concern.
- Another misconception is that all fevers require medication. While fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be helpful in controlling a fever, they are not always necessary. In many cases, a fever can be treated at home with simple measures such as keeping the baby hydrated, providing a cool bath, or using a damp cloth to lower the baby's body temperature. Parents should be advised to seek medical attention if their baby's fever is extremely high or if it persists for more than a couple of days.
- Another misconception is that a baby's fever should be treated as soon as it is detected. In many cases, it is better to wait and see if the fever resolves on its own before giving medication. This is particularly true if the baby is otherwise well, is eating and drinking, and is not showing any other signs of illness.
- Another misconception is that a baby's fever should be treated with antibiotics. Many common infections that cause fevers in babies, such as colds and flu, are caused by viruses and will not respond to antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance, which can make it more difficult to treat future infections.
- A final misconception is that a baby with a fever should be bundled up in warm clothes. In fact, overheating can make a fever worse and it's recommended to dress the baby in light, comfortable clothing. Additionally, giving a baby a cool bath or using a damp cloth to lower their body temperature can help bring down a fever.
It's important to understand that every baby is different and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating a fever
Anastasia Romano, LCSW, CDWF-Clinician, Founder, Mandala Wellness