Worried about a fever in your infant or child? Here are some great tips on how to treat a baby’s fever, what causes a fever, and when to be worried.
What to Do when your child has a fever
Getting sick is the pits, but having your child get sick is even worse. Having them cry and be irritable for hours on end, or not getting any sleep (and that means you too Mama!) But every parent’s worse fear is that dreaded day when your young child’s sickness turns into something more… a fever!
*Disclaimer: The information presented here is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be misconstrued as medical advice. Only you can determine if your child needs medical care.
Time and time again, parents go crazy when their baby gets a fever. I’m not sure where we were ever taught that fevers are something to be terrified of, but let’s first set the record straight.
Fevers are not something to panic about. Even in young kids. A fever is the bodies natural response to fighting off an infection in the body. It could even be an
Most Pediatricians are actually changing how they treat young kids and starting to recommend NOT giving fever-reducing medicine as a way to let the body fight off the infection.
So Moms! DON’T PANIC! Rushing your young child to the Emergency room or Urgent care can often cause them to get even sicker because you are exposing them to other illnesses.
It’s important to get all the facts before you go overboard. So let’s start with some simple facts about fever…
What is a child normal body temperature?
The normal body temperature in a young child is anything from 97 to 100.3 degrees. As soon as a temperature hits 100
Medical professional only consider a fever to be anything over 101 degrees Fahrenheit (and ever that’s a pretty low fever).
So when should you worry about a Childs fever?
Anything up to 103 is considered a manageable fever and can be treated at home. If the fever reaches over 103, then go ahead and take them to the Pediatricians office.
There is no need to rush your child to the Emergency room unless the fever reaches 105 or higher, or they have a medical history.
What About a fever in an infant?
Infants and newborns are taken more seriously. If your infant is less than 3 months old, and they develop a fever of 101 degrees or higher, they should definitely go to the Emergency room for testing. This is mostly because they are unvaccinated and susceptible to diseases that could cause long term harm.
If your child is older then 3 months
The older their bodies get, the more they are handle certain illnesses. And a fever is no exception. If your child is over 3 months old, check and see if you can find a source of their fever.
Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:
- Are they rubbing or pulling at their ears? They might have an ear infection.
- Are their eyes red and goopy? They might have an eye infection.
- Is their urine foul smelling or look cloudy? They might have
These three examples are bacterial infections and can be treated with antibiotics that your pediatrician can prescribe. No need for an Emergency Room! Call your doctor or take them to Urgent Care for some medicine.
Other reasons your kid might have a fever
If your child is vomiting, having diarrhea, or complaining or stomach pains… chances are they have a stomach virus. Which cannot be treated with
Or maybe they have a stuffy nose and are coughing… which most likely means they have an upper respiratory infection (otherwise known as a common cold).
Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics or really any medications at all!
You cannot treat a viral infection so you treat the symptoms instead. So for example, you treat a fever with fever medication (Tylenol or Motrin). This will not make the virus go away, but it will help with the symptoms and make your child feel better.
*Any age child or infant can have Tylenol, but infants MUST BE 6 months or older to have Motrin (Ibuprofen)
Should you go to the Emergency Room for a fever?
The short answer is no, not really. Believe it or not, the only thing a doctor can do to treat a fever is giving them fever medication (the same kind you can buy at any pharmacy). There is no special medication hospitals have for fevers.
But if your child is having other symptoms you are concerned about, like difficulty breathing, or not eating or drinking for more then 24 hours… then you can head to the hospital for treatments of those symptoms.
As for the fever itself… fever medications and home remedies are basically all you got!
(Side note: This advice does not apply if your child has a preexisting condition that may weaken their immune system or otherwise cause concern)
Ways to treat a fever at home
Good old home remedies! If we had a zombie apocalypse, you wouldn’t be able to rush to the Emergency
Home remedies for a fever
- Keep skin exposed. Yes, your child is probably shivering. They are not cold, that’s the fever! If you keep them bundled n layers of clothing and thick blankets, the fever will stay in their body. Let them shiver!
- Cool baths. Not cold baths! lowering body temperature too fast can actually cause damage. Lukewarm baths are good enough.
- Wet wash clothes on the body. Across the forehead, under the armpits, and at wrists and feet are the sensor points on our bodies. Lay a cool, wet washcloth across those areas.
- Cool treat. Popsicles are perfect for kids with fevers! Not only are they cold, and will internally cool down your child… but they are basically just frozen juice. So your kid is getting cooled down AND fluids are the same time.
- Rest and Fluids. Just like our mama’s used to say! When the body has a virus, you have to just let it pass through the system on its own. So give your child plenty of rest and plenty of fluids.
How to take an accurate fever
In kids two years old and younger, the absolute best way to take their temperature is rectally (yep, in the butt). As unappealing as it sounds, it really is the very best way to get the most accurate temperature you can.
If your child is over the age of 2, an oral temperature (under the tongue) is the most accurate. Assuming your child didn’t just drink something really cold!
Temperatures taken in the ear or forehead work just fine if that’s all you have! But the other 2 methods are definitely preferred by most healthcare providers.
If you really feel concerned about your Childs health, then follow your gut and get them some medical care.
The ideas listed here are to help you treat fever at home, before rushing into a hospital, waiting for several hours, paying tons of money, and exposing your child to more illnesses.
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