Although a fever is a common sign of illness, it’s not always a bad thing. When a child or an adult has a fever, it’s the immune system trying to eliminate a virus or an infection in the body.

Most healthy children can tolerate a fever well, and most fevers last 3 to 5 days under normal circumstances.

Fevers in babies are mostly caused by a viral infection. Another reason is teething, which causes a slight increase in body temperature. In younger babies, it may be a sign of a serious infection.

When your child has a fever, it might be a great concern for you. In some cases, you might call a doctor or even take them to the emergency center. The guidelines below may be helpful.

Baby Fever Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

-Newborns up to 3 months: Anything above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) You should be concerned.

-Babies between 3 and 6 months: A fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit ( 38.3 degrees Celsius) should be seen by a doctor

-Toddler 6 months and older. A temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit ( 39.4 degrees Celsius) needs to be seen by a doctor.

-If your baby shows other signs or symptoms of illness, such as a cold, cough, vomiting or diarrhea, we advise you to consult your doctor. Moreover, as a parent, always trust your instincts. If you think you should contact the doctor, go ahead.

In any situation, in addition to your doctor’s visit and prescribed medication, you can follow a few tips to help manage or reduce your baby’s fever.

Here are the top 10 ways to reduce a fever in babies:

1. Cold Compresses

As soon as you notice your baby is getting a fever, the first thing you should do is to place a cold wet cloth on your baby’s forehead. The water from the washcloth will evaporate from the skin, which will help draw the fever out and reduce the temperature.

  • Pour cold water into a bowl
  • Soak a clean washcloth
  • Wring out any excess water; place it on your baby’s forehead.
  • When the washcloth warms up, remove it and repeat the steps
  • Do this until your baby’s fever goes away.

You may also use the washcloth to cover different areas of your child’s body like their armpits, feet, hand and groin to help reduce the fever faster.

Note: Never use very cold or ice water, as it may cause the internal body temperature to increase.

2. Lukewarm Bath

A lukewarm bath will help relax the baby and help regulate the body temperature. It will even help your baby sleep well, which is needed for a faster recovery.

  • For babies younger than 6 months, give a lukewarm sponge bath 2 or 3 times a day.
  • For babies 6 months or older, give them a regular bath in lukewarm water a few times a day.
  • After each bath, dress your baby immediately.

Note: Never use very hot or cold water, as it may cause the internal body temperature to rise.

3. Breast Milk

Breast milk is very important for babies younger than 6 months who have a fever. It provides a great balance of nutrients, which will boost your baby’s immune system and fight off any illness.

Breast milk is easily digested. It keeps your baby hydrated, which will help for a faster recovery.

Try to breastfeed your baby frequently. Your baby might refuse eating when they have a fever, so trying different nursing positions might be helpful. You can also try to keep your baby upright during breastfeeding to make your child feel more comfortable.

If you have tried everything and your baby just won’t eat, you should pump out the breast milk and feed your baby with a spoon or bottle.

4. Give More Fluids

For sick babies, it is important to increase fluid intake. Fluids will help cool them down and replace the fluids lost through sweating, thus prevent dehydration

Dehydration may lead to various other complications and delay recovery.

Due to having a fever, babies may refuse large amounts of fluid at a time. So, try to give them smaller amounts more often.

Give oral rehydration solutions (either homemade or readily available in the market) along with lukewarm water to small babies younger than 6 months old to help replenish fluids and electrolytes.

Along with water and oral rehydration solutions, cold milk, ice pops, fruit juice and chilled yogurt can be given to babies 6 months or older.

5. Keep Your Baby in a Cool Place

When you’re taking care of a sick baby, make sure to keep the room temperature balanced, it should not be too hot or too cold. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature around 70 and 74 degrees (21.1 to 23.3° C)

If you are using a fan, make sure it’s on low speed and turned away from the child.

If you are using the air conditioning, keep it at a comfortable level.Keep your baby inside. If you have to take your child out make sure to stay in the shade

6. Foot Massage

Rub the soles of your babies feet using warm oil to help you fussy child relax. This will also help your child sleep better and help him/her recover faster.

  • Foot massage also helps regulate body temperature.
  • Rub olive oil on the soles of your baby’s feet.
  • Gently massage their feet with your thumbs.
  • After massaging their soles you should massage their whole foot.
  • Do this for a few minutes and you can repeat if necessary.

When massaging a baby’s foot, be careful not to press too much.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

For babies 1 year and older, you can try an apple cider vinegar remedy. Because apple cider vinegar helps draw heat out of the body, it can reduce a high body temperature.

  • Add ¼ cup of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a large bowl of lukewarm water.
  • Soak a washcloth in it, then wring out the excess liquid.
  • Use this damp cloth to give your baby a sponge bath.
  • Repeat 2 or 3 times a day until the fever has dropped.

8. Monitor Body Temperature

Another important thing when your baby is having a fever is to regularly monitor his or her body temperature. Do not rely on your hand as a means of assessing the child’s temperature.

Instead, you can try several ways to take your baby’s temperature:

  • Rectal method (by the rectum)
  • Oral method (by the mouth)
  • Axillary method (under the armpit)
  • Tympanic method (in the ear)

Regularly take your baby’s temperature and write it down on a notepad. This will help a doctor assess the changes that have occurred during the days when your baby is not well.

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Additional Tips

  • Make sure to check your baby’s temperature throughout the night.
  • Monitor and look for signs of dehydration or rashes, if you do call a doctor immediately.
  • Your child should urinate at least every four hours and their urine should be light.
  • If your child won’t stop crying call a doctor.
  • Don’t take your child to daycare until they have fully recovered.
  • Don’t leave your child alone for a long period.
  • You can feed your baby solid food during this time but if they don’t want it don’t force it.
  • It’s best to feed them soft food that is low in fiber like bread, crackers and warm cereals like oatmeal, cream of wheat or soup.
  • If your doctor has prescribed medicine, never give more than the recommended dosage to your child.
  • Always use a measuring device to give medication.
  • Don’t treat a fever in children under 18 years of age with aspirin, as it can lead to serious health problems.
  • Make sure to keep your baby up to date with all of his or her immunizations.

Note: We advise you to consult your doctor before you try any of these home remedies 

Resources:

[1] http://www.top10homeremedies.com/how-to/reduce-fever-babies.html[2] http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/fever-in-babies

Image Credit: WikiHow

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