What to do when your baby has a fever.
Fever is not always a bad thing. Fever is our natural way of fighting infections. Keep in mind that a fever is a symptom and not an illness. Fever is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
However, with that being said, there are times to be alarmed regarding fever with babies and small children.
If your infant is younger than 6 months old, it's a good idea to call your Doctor about a fever. Additionally, if baby is listless, lethargic, acting unusual, having difficulty breathing or complaining of a stiff neck, phone your Doctor immediately.
A child with a fever breathes faster than usual, which makes him lose extra fluid. So you need to encourage them to drink more. Any beverage kids will drink is fine, as long as you steer clear of colas, tea or coffee (these are diuretics that encourage fluid loss). And you can add some variation by supplying soup, a Popsicle or gelatin.
If your baby is nursing offer the breast frequently, as the baby will benefit from not only the extra fluids, but the natural immune factors in breast milk.
Eating is optional. If your baby doesn't feel like eating, do not be alarmed, as long as they are getting the needed fluids. Once they get to feeling better they will welcome the food. If they prefer to eat something, it is usually OK to let them.
The body's temperature fluctuates throughout the day, generally highest in the late afternoon or early evening, and lowest in the morning. It can also be affected by exercise or hot foods. For a more accurate reading it should be taken about 30 minutes after eating.
Your child has a fever if his temperature is more than 100.4 measured rectally, 99 under the arm or 100 measured orally.
Giving your child a sponge bath will help lower the temperature. Place your child in a tub of lukewarm water and sponge the water over the arms, legs and body. As the water evaporates, the body will cool, bringing down the fever. Be careful not to let the water become cold as the cold water will cause the child to shiver, which will actually raise the body temperature.
Dress your baby lightly, and don't cover with heavy blankets. Dressing too warm or heavy blankets on a child will cause their fever to go higher. Heat usually escapes through the head and feet, so skip the hats and socks.
Garlic will help reduce fever. You can put several cloves of garlic in a blender to make a paste. Spread about 1/4" of the garlic paste on a gauze. Apply some olive oil to the bottom of your child's feet then place the garlic pasted gauze on the foot and wrap with gauze to keep in place. Do not cover the entire sole of the foot, as you still want heat to escape. Leave the garlic on for overnight.
Another home remedy is to soak two washcloths in egg whites, then place the washcloths on the child's feet, cover with either loose fitting socks or gauze wrap to keep the washcloths in place. It has been said that the egg-whites will immediately lower the temperature.
There are over-the-counter medications for infants to help relieve fever and that is usually acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Baby aspirin should not be used for fever in babies and children as it has been linked to a disorder called Reyes Syndrome.
Caution should also be used when alternating doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. There has not been enough studies to prove that this method is safe or proves that this helps manage fever better than using just one of the two products.