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Baby fever: don’t panic! Here are the 5 things you need to know...

Baby fever: don’t panic! Here are the 5 things you need to know...

July 7, 2018 - By Sam Mann

There’s one word that strikes fear and panic into most new parents: ‘fever’.

Upon finding baby is a little warmer than normal it usually goes a bit like this…

  1. Frantic hunt for the thermometer (that’s definitely in the medicine cabinet somewhere under the 10-year-old suncream, umpteen boxes of paracetamol and enough plasters to rescue a sinking dinghy)
  2. Fun game of ‘which hole gives the best temperature reading’ begins.
  3. High temperature - check. Worst fears realised - panic!
  4. Check temperature again to be sure - panic some more.
  5. A quick Google (‘I have the hottest baby EVER’) to find other panicky parents sharing their ridiculously unhelpful advice.
  6. Take temperature again to see if baby’s temperature has changed.
  7. Repeat step 6 until exhausted.

It’s all part and parcel of being a new parent, nervously wanting to get everything right and protect the precious little thing you have created. The main reason for such panic is that fever is just not a hot topic of discussion between new parents (or anyone for that matter). So when it happens out of the blue new parents are often blindsided and the panic begins. The crazy thing is that if they were armed with the answers to a few simple questions the whole process would be a lot smoother. So here’s what you need to know.

What is a fever?

Fever is a natural and healthy response to infection. It is a high temperature of 38C or more. A normal temperature for a baby or child is around 36.4C.

How do I know if baby has a fever?

Usually one or more of the below will happen:

  • a change in temperature - baby will feel hotter if he/she has a temperature 
  • a change in behaviour - they will act differently 
  • a change in feeding - baby is likely to go off their food or eat less 
  • a change in sleeping - baby may sleep more or less than usual 

Why do babies get fevers?

Fever is the body’s natural response to fighting infections. So if your child has a fever he/she is likely to be suffering from an underlying illness - including a cold, flu, ear infection or sore throat. A high temperature can occur following a vaccination or even being too wrapped up. 

What to do if baby has a fever?

Most fevers will go away on their own but there are a number of things you can do to make sure baby is more comfortable and to help bring the fever down:

  • Make sure he/she gets plenty of fluids. 
  • Keep a close eye on your baby's temperature - there are a number of ways to take your baby's temperature including the great new  Nurofen For Children FeverSmart Temperature Monitor - a stick-on device which allows the continual monitoring of a baby's temperature via a Bluetooth-connected app even while they are sleeping. 
  • Allow baby to rest, as this will help your child’s body focus its energy on getting better.
  • Make baby as comfortable as possible. Remove excess layers of clothes to allow them to cool down. Remove bedding but cover them if they start to shiver.
  • Give your child pain relief to ease discomfort and help to bring down the fever.

Mumazine readers can get 30% off the new Nurofen FeverSmart Temperature Monitor. Buy yours here using the discount code: FEVERSMARTMumazine30

When to call the doctor?

It’s always advised to contact your doctor or health visitor if your child:

  • has other signs of illness such as a rash
  • is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38c or higher
  • is 3 to 6 moths old and has a temperature of 39c or higher
  • has had a high temperature that’s lasted more than 5 days
  • has a high temperature that doesn’t come down with paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • is showing signs of dehydration - such as nappies that aren’t very wet, sunken eye, and no tears when crying

First fever experiences

Sam Mann - Mumazine Editor

My daughter April was 3 months old when she had her first fever. She was super grouchy and wouldn’t settle so I took her temperature. It was 39 degrees so I panicked and called my Mum straight away. I had read lots of books while pregnant but none had covered what to do when your baby has a fever. My mum helped me think straight and after giving my daughter some medicine I felt much better. I kept on checking her temperature every 5 minutes until it eventually went down. 

Vicki Psarias - Honest Mum 

I freaked out when my first child, Oliver had a fever as a baby, because first time motherhood is endlessly scary! His fever was actually the start of chicken pox so we ended up taking him to A & E. I’m glad I monitored him closely and acted on my instinct. I was much calmer when it came to my second son. I was still watchful of fevers but didn't panic and think it was anything too sinister if he had one. 

Denise Van Outen 

We were on a flight to Dubai when Betsy had her first fever. She started shivering and was very sleepy. We were on our own so I panicked a bit. All I could so was strip her down to her vest to cool her down as much as possible as I'd packed all of my medicines and medical stuff in my suitcase which was in the hold. When we eventually arrived at the hotel I called a doctor, he told me to strip her off completely until he arrived. Just having Betsy checked over by a doctor was a huge relief. Eventually her temperature went down. When I travel now I always pack a thermometer and some medicine in my hand luggage. 

Jessica Brown - Jessica Loves

My daughter was 8 months old and it was 2 am in the morning when I realised she had a fever.  She woke up crying and was really hot, sweaty and distressed. We tried all the usual things to soothe her, stripped off her babygrow, offered her some water, milk, cuddles, sang to her, but she was really unhappy, extremely hot and seemed to be staring into space. We took her temperature and it was 38 degrees, which made us panic and consulting Google made us panic even more. We gave her some medicine and lay her in the centre of our bed. Within 30 mins her temperature had dropped and she started smiling and looking more like her normal happy self. In hindsight I wish I knew that is it common and happens at some point to all babies.

Sarah Cawood - sarahcawood.com

Hunter was 18 months old when he was wailing, feverish and clearly uncomfortable. I was so scared as his temperature was so high. Luckily my mum was with me at the time. She noticed that he seemed really uncomfortable on his feet. We worked out that he had Hand, Foot and Mouth. I gave him some medicine and he quickly became a lot more comfortable. The doctor confirmed our suspicions but thankfully within a couple of days, he was right as rain.

This article is sponsored by Nurofen for Children

Medical approval code: UK/NfC/0618/0050

Tags: Parenting

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