Your baby has a fever. It’s unnerving, and maybe even scary. You’re worried, and not sure how to comfort him. Here are some tips on caring for your baby when he has a fever.

What is a fever?

A fever, or body temperature is just a sign that your baby is fighting off an infection – it’s actually a sign of a healthy immune system. Fever in a child is defined as a body temperature greater than 100.4°F when taken rectally, or 100° when taken orally. Fever by itself doesn’t not necessarily signal a serious illness. Babies are less able to regulate their body temperature than adults, so it can be challenging for them to cool down during a fever. It is important to note, however, that infants under 3 months are more vulnerable; if your baby is younger than 3 months and has a fever, call your doctor.

What causes a fever?

Lots of issues can trigger a fever in your baby, including:

  • Ear infections
  • Common colds
  • Respiratory infections, including RSV, or other viral infections
  • Flu
  • Roseola
  • Skin injuries

How do I care for my baby when he has a fever?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you monitor your baby’s illness and try to make them comfortable.

  • Make sure they have plenty of formula or milk, water or other liquids, as fever increases the risk of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include chapped lips, sunken eyes or dry skin.
  • Keep them away from daycare or other places where infections can spread.
  • If your doctor says it’s ok, you might use a baby anti-fever medication. Check with your doctor first, and follow instructions closely.

Is fever dangerous for my baby?

According to Medical News Today, fevers are rarely dangerous. It is important, however, to determine what is causing the fever. The underlying infection may need antibiotics or other medical treatment. If your baby is younger than 3 months, or if he seems lethargic, won’t stop crying, has a fever that doesn’t respond to medication, or seems dehydrated, seek medical attention. At any time, if you are concerned and not sure if the symptoms are serious, call your doctor.

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