Babies are extremely vulnerable after birth. They tend to be prone to many health problems such as jaundice, colic, and infections.
While fever is not an illness in itself, it is, however, a symptom that the body is busy fighting off an infection. It is the body’s natural defence mechanism against foreign invaders such as viruses, bacteria, toxins, and fungi. However, it can be quite concerning for parents when their newborn baby is warmer to the touch than usual.
What Causes Fever?
First of all, there are two possible causes for the rise in your baby’s temperature: heatstroke (hyperthermia) and fever (pyrexia). The main difference is that heatstroke is caused by external environments, whereas fever is caused by internal factors.
Causes of Heatstroke:
- Overbundling or dressing too warmly
- Prolonged exposure to the sun
- Staying too long in a hot environment
Causes of Fever:
- Fighting off an illness or infection
- Reaction to vaccination
- Teething fever
- Throat/ear infections
- Crying too much
- Roseola virus
Your baby has a fever if the body temperature is above 38°C. At this point, you will probably have noticed that your baby has a dry mouth, is crying without tears, and there are fewer wet diapers to change. These symptoms indicate that your baby is dehydrated.
Besides, you will also notice that your baby is sleeping poorly, has no appetite during nursing, is not interested in playtime, feels sleepy or lethargic all the time, and in more serious cases, having some difficulty breathing.
How Hot is Too Hot?
The average body temperature of newborn babies is 37.5°C, whereas, for children under 2 years old, the average body temperature should be between 36.6°C and 38°C.
An extremely high body temperature (40°C and above) is considered to be very dangerous for babies. They need immediate medical attention because it may cause seizures, convulsions, and even permanent brain damage.
Here are a few ways you can take your baby’s temperature:
Suitable for ages 0-3 years. This method provides the most accurate reading for your baby’s body temperature. Use a baby-safe thermometer with plenty of lube when taking their temperature via rectal.
If your baby’s rectal temperature is above 38°C, consult your doctor immediately.
Suitable for ages 6 months and above. This is a quick and easy method that provides reliable temperature readings. It’s also relatively safer than other methods. Remember to clean the surface of the ear thermometer before and after every use.
Suitable for all ages. This is a fuss-free method that also provides an accurate reading. A temporal thermometer detects the natural infrared heat emitted by your baby’s temporal artery, located near the temples on both sides of their forehead.
Suitable for ages 2 years and above. This method may be slightly uncomfortable for your child, but its temperature readings are fairly reliable. Remember to place the tip of the baby-safe thermometer under the tongue for a more accurate reading.
If your baby’s oral temperature is above 37.8°C, consult your doctor immediately.
Suitable for all ages. This method is the least accurate, but it is one of the easiest ways to check your baby’s body temperature. Always remember to use a clean baby-safe thermometer.
If your baby’s armpit temperature is above 37.2°C, consult your doctor immediately.
Fever Prevention at Home
Unless prescribed by a medical professional, do NOT give your baby over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, or paracetamol, as drugs can be dangerous to babies.
You can instead give your baby a warm sponge bath to cool down, preferably with suitable herbs that are effective for bringing down your baby’s temperature.
Our Baby Herbal Bath contains ingredients like Bitter Gourd and Peppermint that helps relieve heat and discomfort when your baby is feeling feverish.
Remember that the water should be at a lukewarm temperature so that your baby doesn’t end up catching a cold instead.
After the bath, let your baby get enough rest in a well-ventilated room so that their little bodies have enough energy to fight off those nasty infections.
In the meantime, always make sure that your baby is getting enough fluids and staying hydrated throughout the day, especially in our hot Malaysian weather. Try not to overdress your baby and avoid hot, stuffy environments whenever possible.
When Should I Consult a Doctor?
If your baby’s fever is accompanied by diarrhoea, frequent vomiting, and convulsions or seizures, consult a medical professional immediately.
All information provided above is for informational purposes only, not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.