The first fever a baby or an infant has is often scary for parents. Most fevers are harmless and are caused by a mild infection. Overdressing a child may even cause a rise in temperature.
Regardless, you should report any fever in a newborn that is higher than 100.4 °F, taken rectally, to the child's doctor.
Fever is an important part of the body's defense against infection. Many older infants develop high fevers with even minor illnesses.
Febrile seizures do occur in some children and can be scary to parents. However, most febrile seizures are over quickly. These seizures do not mean your child has epilepsy, and do not cause any lasting harm.
Your child should drink plenty of fluids.
Children can eat foods when they have a fever. But do not force them to eat.
Children who are ill often 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 the child has the chills. This may keep the fever from coming down, or make it go higher.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) help lower fever in children. You child's doctor may tell 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 their 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:
Also, to your child's doctor or go to the emergency room if your child:
Call 911 if your child has a fever and:
Fever - infant; Fever - baby
Mick NW. Pediatric fever. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 167.
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, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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