Should you panic if your baby has a fever?

October 24, 2011 12:00 AM by

Newborn babies are fragile creatures, and any change in their body temperature can give moms a cause for alarm. If your newborn feels a little too warm to the touch, he may have a fever. How can you check, and what can you do if his temperature is too high?

Pinpointing a fever will be simple if you know your baby's typical baseline temperature. An infant's body temperature may be more influenced by external factors, such as how warmly he is dressed or how hot the room is, than an adult.Take his temperature a few times when he's not feeling sick, so you can get a baseline reading. The easiest way to do this is with an ear thermometer, which causes the least amount of discomfort for your little one and is easy to use even on a squirming infant.

A true fever is any temperature over 100.4 degrees. Below that, higher-than-average readings are considered normal fluctuations and aren't typically anything to be alarmed about. However, it's always best to check in with your baby's physician about even small fluctuations.

Infants may run a fever for a variety of reasons. Illness aside, he may be dehydrated or dressed in too many warm layers. However, fevers are most commonly caused by infections. Infections should be attended to immediately, because many infants' immune systems have not yet developed an adult's ability to fight off disease.

Always call a doctor to check up on a fever in the first four to six months of your baby's life, especially if your child shows any other signs of being unwell, such as lethargy, clammy skin or difficulty breathing.  

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