Typically, your baby’s normal body temperature should stay between 36.5 and 37.5 deg C. Any reading above 38.5 deg C is considered a high fever. And should the fever exceed 42 deg C, it may cause brain damage if it’s not resolved.
Dr Rajeev Ramachandran, a consultant at the Division of General Ambulatory Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, National University Hospital, points out, however, that most fevers caused by common infections are seldom more than 41 deg C. But if your baby is below 3 months old and running a fever, you should bring him to see a doctor immediately, who will run tests for serious bacterial infections.
Most fevers caused by common infections are seldom more than 41 deg C.
Dr Ramachandran explains, “The doctor may advise that the baby be admitted to the hospital for blood and urine tests and a spinal tap, if [required].” This procedure is almost always carried out in babies who are less than a month old and fighting a fever.
Regardless of your child’s age, a persistent fever is a cause for concern — do get that checked by your child’s physician as soon as possible. Here are ways to ease your child’s fever…
1) Place a damp cloth on your child’s forehead Also known as tepid sponging, you’ll need to soak a small towel in lukewarm water of about 32 to 35 deg C. Wring dry, then fold the compress until it’s small enough to place on your child’s forehead ― leave for a few minutes. Once it’s dry to the touch, soak it in the water and repeat the steps. Dr Ramachandran suggests that you measure your child’s fever every five minutes and stop sponging once his temperature drops to 38 deg C.
2) Offer your baby lots of fluids Until he is 6 months old, your munchkin needs just breastmilk alone as much of it is actually water. Dr Ramachandran adds, “As 88 per cent of breastmilk is water, you may increase the frequency of breastfeeding to prevent dehydration.” For older babies, do remember to complement your child’s milk feeds with water or juices whenever possible.
While chicken soup helps adults suffering from fever, Dr Ramachandran explains that while it may reduce the dehydrating effects of fever, it won’t help put an end to your child’s fever.
3) Give bubba a sponge or lukewarm bath Keep the bathwater lukewarm — between 32 and 35 deg C. Don’t use cold water thinking that it’ll bring down your child’s fever as a too drastic drop in body temperature could send his body into shock.
4) Dress him in “breathable” clothes Don’t put your little one in heat-trapping garments made of cotton-blend and polyester materials. Pure cotton fabrics will cool his body as the natural fibres help air to circulate.
5) Improve ventilation by opening windows and using the fan Keep a fan oscillating at a low speed to circulate clean air around the room. You don’t want to blow air directly at bubba, which could cause discomfort and worse, may worsen his condition.
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