A Look at Fevers in Babies and Toddlers
This post was first published on wfmchealth.org.
A fever in your baby or toddler can be scary, especially when that fever is high or your baby is only a few weeks old. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your child.
Causes of Infant Fevers
The first thing you need to know is that a fever is not an illness. It’s a symptom that usually indicates that your baby or toddler is fighting off an illness. However, fevers develop for different reasons.
For example, when an infant develops a fever, it usually means that they’ve caught a cold or another type of viral illness. Although less common, infants can develop a fever with urinary tract infections, ear infections, pneumonia and other bacterial infections.
Signs of Infant Fever
Even though a warm forehead can be indicative of a fever, it doesn’t always mean that your baby has one. When your baby is not feeling well and has a fever, they may be crankier than usual. In addition, they may also exhibit the following symptoms:
• Poor eating habits
• Difficulty sleeping
If your baby has a rectal temperature over 100.4 Fahrenheit that doesn’t respond to fever-reducing medication, consult your pediatrician immediately.
Fevers in Toddlers
All toddlers get fevers; it’s just a part of growing up and interacting with other children. While there are times when you can administer fever reducers and simply keep an eye on your toddler’s condition, there are other times when you may need to seek medical treatment.
Causes of Toddler Fevers
If your toddler has a low-grade fever (99 or 100 Fahrenheit), acetaminophen can easily lower their temperature. If your toddler is older than 2, check the dosage listed on the bottle’s label. However, if your toddler has a persistent fever or a fever that is higher than 101, it’s important to find out why.
Many viral illnesses cause fevers, and they can sometimes disappear as fast as they appeared. However, with increasing exposure to other children, your toddler is also at higher risk of catching bacterial infections.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Regardless of age, never give your child aspirin. You should also avoid over-the-counter cold and flu preparations unless cleared by your pediatrician. Finally, do not give your child an ice bath. It can actually cause your child’s fever to spike.
Most importantly, keep an eye out for potentially life-threatening symptoms. Fevers can spike quickly and cause seizures. If your child appears to be having a fever-induced emergency, call 911 immediately.