Does your baby have a fever? This may be worrisome as a parent or a caregiver, but it can also be a sign of a healthy immune system as your baby’s body is working to fight infection.
However, if your baby is a newborn, they may have more vulnerable bodies, and fever can signify a severe infection. This article will run you through the causes of fevers in babies and when you should take your baby to the doctor.
Identifying a Fever
For babies, it is best to use a rectal thermometer as these provide the most accurate results.
For children under the age of 12 months, their normal temperature is at an average of 98.6°F (37°C). This temperature may go as low as 96.8°F (36°C) in the morning and go up to 100.3°F (37.9°C) during the later parts of the day.
The following temperatures may indicate a fever for children of this age:
- Higher than 100.4°F (38°C) if you are using a rectal thermometer
- Higher than 100°F (37.8°C) if using an oral thermometer. This is not ideal for infants as it is less accurate.
- Higher than 99°F (37.2°C) if you are using a thermometer placed at the armpits
Indications of a Fever
A fever does not usually indicate serious illness in babies. If you notice your baby behaving the usual way, they are likely fine.
The severity of the fever may not always indicate how unwell the child is, as their body temperature can rise due to factors other than an illness.
Because their bodies are not as capable of temperature regulation, crying, spending time under the sun, playing, and even teething can raise their temperatures. However, if your baby is under three months of age, it is best to call a doctor as this may indicate a severe infection.
Common Causes of Fevers
It is important to remember that a fever is not the illness itself. This is only a symptom of a condition when the immune system fights against bacterial or viral infection.
Some common causes of fevers in babies include:
- The common cold, flu, respiratory infections, and other viral infections
- Bacterial or viral pneumonia
- Viral or bacterial meningitis
- Vaccination (usually occurs within 12 hours after the vaccine and may last for two to three days)
- Heat-related illnesses, which are rare
- Sepsis or any other bacterial infection in children younger than three months
Should You Speak with a Doctor?
If your child is under three months old or experiences any of these symptoms, it is best to seek urgent care:
- Fever lasting longer than 24 hours
- Fever rising higher than 104°F (40°C)
- Remaining sick even after taking medication or antibiotics
- Being lethargic, inconsolable, or seeming very sick
- Showing signs of dehydration such as dry lips or a sunken soft spot on top of the head
The following symptoms indicate that your child needs to be rushed to the emergency room:
- Fever in a newborn
- Having a seizure, especially if it lasts longer than 15 minutes
- The fever rising to 107°F (41.6°C) or higher
Most of the time, a fever in a baby is nothing serious. They may have higher temperatures as their bodies aren’t as capable of temperature regulation.
However, if your child is a newborn, less than three months old, has a temperature higher than 104°F (40°C), or is showing signs of serious illness, it may be best to seek kids’ urgent care.
Are you looking for children’s urgent care in Vestavia, AL? At Your Kids Urgent Care, we offer superior and convenient urgent pediatric care services to all children. Give us a call or head on to our locations to learn more!