The first fever in a baby or an infant is often a scary moment for parents. Fortunately, most fevers are harmless and are caused by a mild infection or even over bundling a child.
Regardless, you should report any fever in a newborn that is higher than 100.4 °F, taken rectally, to the child's health care provider.
Fever is an important part of the body's defense against infection. Many older infants develop high fevers with even minor illnesses.
Febrile seizures are another fear of parents and do occur in some children. However, most febrile seizures are over quickly, do not mean your child has epilepsy, and do not cause any permanent harm.
Your child should drink plenty of fluids.
Your child can eat foods while having a fever, but do not force the child to eat.
Children who are ill usually tolerate bland foods better. A bland diet is made up of foods that are soft, not very spicy, and low in fiber. You may try:
Do NOT bundle up a child with blankets or extra clothes, even if your child has the chills. This may keep their fever from coming down, or make it higher.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) help lower fever in children. Sometimes doctors advise you to use both types of medicine.
A fever does not need to come all the way down to normal. Most children will feel better when the temperature drops by even one degree.
A lukewarm bath or sponge bath may help cool a fever.
Talk to your child's doctor or go to the emergency room when:
Call 911 if your child has a fever and:
Fever - infant; Fever - baby
Mick NW. Pediatric fever. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 165.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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