January 08, 2022
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Fever in babies is a common concern among parents and caregivers. However, a fever itself is not dangerous.
A fever most often means that a baby’s body is fighting off an infection. Parents and caregivers may worry when they notice a baby has a fever, although this is a sign of a healthy immune system. However, because newborns have more vulnerable bodies, a fever can signal a serious infection.
This article examines the causes of fever in babies, what it means, and when a parent or caregiver may want to take the baby to a doctor. It also discusses how to care for a baby with a fever.
IDENTIFYING FEVER IN BABIES
When taking a baby’s temperature, a rectal thermometer generally gives the most accurate results.
What is fever in babies?
A typical temperature in a child under the age of 12 months is an average of 98.6°F (37°C) when using a rectal thermometer. In the morning, this temperature can be as low as 96.8°F (36°C) and go up to 100.3°F (37.9°C) later in the day. This is a normal range for an infant at this age.
Fever in a child depends on the method of taking the temperature:
What does fever mean?
By itself, a fever does not necessarily signal a serious illness. If the baby is behaving as they would, they are likely to be fine. However, if a baby under 3 months of age has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, a parent or caregiver should call a doctor.
Additionally, the severity of a fever does not always indicate how unwell a child is at the time. The body temperatures of babies can rise for many reasons other than illness, including extended crying, sitting in the hot sun, or spending time playing. Their temperature may also slightly rise when they are teething. None of these things causes a fever.
A baby’s body is also less able to regulate temperature than an adult body, meaning it can be more difficult for them to cool down during a fever. Their bodies are naturally warmer than an adult’s body because they are more metabolically active, which generates heat.
COMMON CAUSES OF FEVER IN BABIES
A fever is a symptom of an illness, not the illness itself. Fever occurs due to the immune system fighting against infections, which can be bacterial or viral. Viral infections are much more common.
Common causes of fevers in babies include:
Despite common beliefs, teething does not cause a fever.
ARE FEVERS DANGEROUS FOR BABIES?
Fevers are a sign that the baby’s immune system is fighting infection, so the fever itself is not dangerous. What may put the baby at risk is the underlying infection, if it is serious.
Should parents be worried?
Some parents and caregivers may worry that fevers are dangerous. However, except in rare cases, these fevers themselves are rarely serious.
Fevers of up to 105°F (40.5°C) are common in babies and children whose temperatures often get much higher than an adult’s temperature. Where there is a viral infection causing this fever, they may just need to run their course. Some bacterial infections may require treatment with antibiotics, but the fever itself is just a symptom.
Additionally, treating the fever will not make the infection go away. Instead, parents and caregivers should simply carefully monitor the child for signs of complications.
However, a doctor needs to examine babies younger than 3 months for any signs of fever. This is to check for underlying conditions, as certain infections are more common and can be more dangerous in newborns.
Some parents or caregivers may hear about fevers causing brain damage. However, this can only happen if the temperature rises above 107°F (41.6°C), which is very rare. When an infant’s temperature is below this, there is no need to take drastic measures, such as ice baths, to lower the child’s fever.
For 2–5% of children aged between 6 months and 5 years, a fever can cause a seizure, which can be worrying but is not typically harmful. Doctors call them febrile seizures.
Febrile seizures do not cause brain damage or increase a child’s risk of epilepsy. However, prolonged seizures may mean a child is more likely to develop epilepsy.
The biggest risk of febrile seizures is that a child may fall, hit their head, or suffer a similar injury. Therefore, parents and caregivers should monitor children during a seizure to prevent injury and call emergency services for any seizures in a baby that continue for longer than 5 minutes.
HOW TO CARE FOR A BABY WITH A FEVER
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents and caregivers make their babies comfortable if they have a fever, rather than focusing on lowering their temperature.
To look after a baby with a fever, parents and caregivers can:
WHEN TO SPEAK WITH A DOCTOR
Call a doctor or seek medical care if a baby has a fever and one of the following:
Go to the emergency room for a fever if a baby:
FEVER IN NEWBORNS
A fever in a newborn may be a sign of a serious medical condition. Newborns are more vulnerable to infections, so it is important to take any signs of infection seriously. Call a doctor if a newborn has a fever or other signs of illness.
One concern with newborns is respiratory illness. Newborns breathe more through their noses than older infants and children, so congestion can make breathing appear more difficult. They also have smaller airways.
A lack of oxygen can seriously injure a newborn. If a baby has trouble breathing, call a doctor, even if their fever goes down.
Signs that a newborn is having trouble breathing include:
If a baby has breathing problems and a fever, a parent or caregiver should take them to the emergency room immediately.
Young children and babies sometimes experience fevers, but this is usually not a cause for concern when infants are behaving as expected.
Parents and carers can use a child’s behavior as a cue. If a baby seems fine but has a fever, the illness is probably a minor one that will soon pass. Lethargy, excessive crying, and other signs of serious illness are important to address, even if a child’s fever is fairly low.
A fever means that the immune system is working hard to fight an infection. Parents and caregivers do not need to treat the fever itself, but they can comfort the baby and treat the symptoms instead. If they are unsure whether a baby’s symptoms are serious, they should consult with a healthcare professional.
Source: Medical News Today
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Theo tuổi tác, hệ miễn dịch của chúng ta trở nên kém hiệu quả hơn trong việc đối phó với các tình trạng nhiễm trùng cũng như kém đáp ứng với việc chủng ngừa. Đồng thời, hệ miễn dịch lão hóa có mối liên hệ với tình trạng viêm mạn tính, từ đó làm tăng
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