She’s crying and irritable and hot! What temp is “a fever” and should a doctor see baby?

Baby has a fever — help!

So how hot is “a fever”?

Normal temperature for humans is between 36.5 deg C and 37.5 deg C. Beyond 38.5 deg C would be classified as a high fever, according to Fever in Children on the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital web site.

So if your child is feverish, should you bring them to see a doctor? Family physician Dr Lim Kai Hung, of Lifescan Medical, emphatically says “yes”.

“Any fever should be evaluated by a medical professional as having a fever is a body's own defence mechanism against infections. Hence, it is important to determine what is the cause of the fever and look out for signs/symptoms that may signify a more sinister cause.” So it is important to bring your child in to see the doctor as soon as possible.

Once the doctor has seen and prescribed medication for your baby — often paracetamol or ibuprofen (orally) or paracetamol and voren (via suppositories), says Dr Lim, you can help bring down the child’s fever; mainly by sponging with room-temperature water, especially over areas such as the neck, armpits and groin.

“You may also have to give the child a shower with room-temperature water. It is advisable not to use cold water, as it may cause shivering, which will lead to increase in body temperature.”

The popular KoolFever may also be used, but do keep an eye on your child — the patch may be masking a high fever.

Keep an eye out for rashes, also, which are a good indication of what disease is causing the fever — this includes diseases such as dengue, chickenpox, roseola and so on. “Please seek medical attention should there be any appearance of rash on the body along with the fever,” says Dr Lim.

One other note: We also had noted in our own kids that medication seems to cause the child’s stool colour. Dr Lim pondered this, and said that it was not a listed side effect. “But antibiotics can cause gastro-intestinal side effects like vomiting or diarrhea. Infrequent green stools (in the absence of other symptoms like diarrhoea or fever) are considered normal.”

Dr Lim Kai Hung works with Lifescan Medical.

Photo: INGimages

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