Posts Tagged ‘fever’

Fever and your baby

Monday, July 17th, 2017

mother with sick babyWhen your baby has a fever, it can be very frightening. Here is some information that can help you better understand why your baby has a fever and what you can do to help him.

What is a fever?

A fever is a body temperature that is higher than normal. Your child’s temperature will vary with age, activity, and even the time of day. Babies have a higher temperature than older children. And everyone’s temperature is highest between late afternoon and early evening and lowest between midnight and early morning.

A normal temperature can be anywhere from 97.5°F (36.4°C) and 99.5°F (37.5°C). Most health care providers consider a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C) as a sign of a fever.

What causes a fever?

A fever is important in helping your baby or child fight an infection. If your baby has an illness of some kind, his body temperature will increase. This increase in body temperature signals certain other defenses, such as white blood cells, to work and start attacking the infection. A fever will make your baby feel uncomfortable, increase his need for fluids, and make him breathe faster and his heart beat faster.

How can I treat my baby’s fever?

First, it is important to get an accurate temperature. Feeling your baby’s forehead will not give you a precise measurement—you need to use a thermometer to get the best information. For a baby, a rectal thermometer is the most accurate way to measure temperature.

It isn’t always necessary to see your health care provider when your child has a fever. Here are some things that can help:

  • Acetaminophen (Tyleno®l) or ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®) will usually bring down your baby’s temperature. But make sure you give the correct dose.
  • Do not overdress your child. Alcohol bath, ice packs, etc. are NOT recommended and should not be used.
  • Make sure your baby gets a lot of fluids to help prevent dehydration. Signs of dehydration include crying without tears, a dry mouth, and fewer wet diapers.

When should I call my baby’s provider?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should call your child’s health care provider right away if he has a fever and:

  • Is younger than 3 months (12 weeks) and has a temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher. Call even if you baby doesn’t seem sick. Babies this young can get sick very quickly.
  • Fever rises above 104°F (40°C) repeatedly for a child of any age.
  • Looks very ill, is unusually drowsy, or is very fussy.
  • Has been in a very hot place, such as an overheated car.
  • Has other symptoms, such as a stiff neck, severe headache, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, an unexplained rash, or repeated vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Has signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, sunken soft spot or significantly fewer wet diapers and is not able to take in fluids.
  • Has immune system problems, such as sickle cell disease or cancer, or is taking medications, such as steroids.
  • Has had a seizure.

Also call your child’s doctor if:

  • The fever persists for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years.
  • The fever persists for more than 3 days (72 hours) in a child 2 years of age or older.
  • Your child still “acts sick” once his fever is brought down.
  • Your child seems to be getting worse.

Have questions? Send them AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Caring for your sick baby

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

soothing crying babyRecently, one of our health education specialists received an email from a new mom asking what she should do for her four month old daughter who was crying, not feeding and seemed hot to the touch.

The Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center has been answering questions from the public for nearly two decades. We provide scientifically based responses to questions on pregnancy (including preconception, complications and postpartum care), prematurity, birth defects, infant and young child care, delays and disabilities, and other health related topics.

In the case of this new mom, the health education specialist recommended that the mom take her baby to see her health care provider. Babies can get sick very quickly, and the only one who can make the judgment as to what is going on, is a medical professional who examines the baby.

But, often a mom needs information about a condition, and that is where our website can be an enormous help.

 Well and sick baby care is on our website

We provide tons of info on what to do if you suspect that your baby or child is not well. You will

Here’s a sampling of other topics that you’ll find on our website:

Croup
Ear infections
Cytomegalovirus
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Roseola
Reflux
Thrush
Teething

There are many more conditions -take a moment to look through and familiarize yourself with our website. It is rich with information.

Birth defects and special needs

You can also find information on various birth defects and disabilities, from autism spectrum disorder to thalassemia. You can learn how to get services for your baby after the NICU, too. Once you review the information, if you are not sure about how to care for your child, or would like more information about a particular health condition, send an email to AskUs@marchofdimes.org. We will be happy to provide an answer to your question within two business days.

If you are unsure, or it is a problem that cannot wait, always contact your health care provider or take your child to the nearest emergency room.

For other posts on how to help your child with a delay or disability, view our Table of Contents.

 

Motrin Infant Drops Recalled

Monday, September 9th, 2013

motrin-recall-3The makers of Motrin® are recalling about 200,000 units of Concentrated Motrin Infants’ Drops Original Berry Flavor because small plastic particles may have gotten into the medicine. The drops, used to treat infant pain and fever, come in ½ fluid ounce bottles and have the following lot numbers: DCB3T01, DDB4R01 and DDB4S01. The lot numbers can be found on the label.

So far, other Motrin products, like Concentrated Motrin Infants’ Drops Dye-free Original Berry Flavor, Children’s or Adult Motrin aren’t included in the recall.

If you have the recalled drops, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends you stop using the product immediately. Pharmacies and other retail stores are being asked to remove the affected products from store shelves. Visit the FDA website for more information on the Motrin recall.

Taking your child’s temperature

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

digital thermometerAlways use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents remove mercury thermometers from their homes to prevent accidental exposure and poisoning. It’s a good idea to remind grandparents of this, or even buy them a new digital thermometer for use in their house.

So, what type of digital thermometer is best? It depends on the age of your child. Here are three types:

Digital multiuse – This can be used in the bottom (rectally), in the mouth (orally) or under the arm (axillary), just don’t use the same thermometer for different positions. This is good to use right from birth.

Temporal artery – This is used on the side of the forehead and may have best results at age 3 months and older.

Tympanic – This is placed in the ear and is most reliable when used at age 6 months and older.

For more information on the different types of thermometers and how to use them properly, click on this link to the AAP article How to Take a Child’s Temperature.

Flu is no joke

Friday, January 11th, 2013

get vaccinatedIn general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose and a sore throat. Your health care provider can give you a test within the first few days of your illness to tell you if you have the flu or something else.

Children, pregnant women, the elderly and immune-compromised are at highest risk for severe, even life-threatening reactions. You’ve probably seen the numbers in the news. To date, the CDC has received reports of 18 deaths of children this season. Influenza activity continues to spread in the U.S. and most of the country is now experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness (ILI), according to CDC’s latest FluView  report. The CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season and antiviral treatment as early as possible for people who get sick and are at high risk of flu complications.

The influenza vaccine is safe at any time during pregnancy. Almost all women who are or will be pregnant during flu season can get the shot. Getting the flu shot can help protect you from getting influenza and spreading it to others. Getting a flu shot during pregnancy is good for your baby, too. Babies born to women who get the vaccine during pregnancy are less likely to get sick with influenza. As newborns, they are not able to get the vaccine until the age of six months, all the more reason to have those around them vaccinated.

“While influenza vaccination offers the best protection we have against influenza, it’s still possible that some people may become ill despite being vaccinated,” says Dr. Joe Bresee of the CDC. “Health care providers and the public should remember that influenza antiviral medications are a second line of defense against influenza.”

Antiviral treatment (sold commercially as “Tamiflu®” and “Relenza®”) started as early as possible after becoming ill, is recommended for any patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who are hospitalized, seriously ill, or ill and at high risk of serious influenza-related complications. Treatment should begin as soon as influenza is suspected, regardless of vaccination status or rapid test results and should not be delayed for confirmatory testing.

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Sudden dizziness
• Confusion
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Seizures
• Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

What is coxsackievirus?

Monday, June 18th, 2012

feverMost of us think that as summer approaches all of those pesky winter viruses are gone. Although many common viruses are more likely to be passed around during the cold winter months, as summer approaches there is one virus that many parents may be dealing with—coxsackievirus. Coxsackieviruses are part of the enterovirus family of viruses (which also include polioviruses and hepatitis A virus) that live in the human digestive tract. Coxsackievirus is sometimes also known as hand, foot and mouth disease.

This virus is very contagious and is typically passed from person to person through nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), or feces of infected persons. This of course means that young children are particularly susceptible. In fact, the infection usually occurs in children under 5 years of age, but occasionally can occur in adults too. Outbreaks are seen most often in the summer and fall, especially in more temperate climates.

The good news is that coxsackievirus sounds a lot worse than it usually is. Most coxsackievirus infections aren’t serious. They typically cause only mild signs and symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, joint pain, and headache. Doctors usually diagnose it by the tell-tale blister-like rash on the hands, feet and in the mouth. This usually develops one to two days after the initial symptoms.

There is no specific treatment for coxsackievirus. It is a virus so antibiotics will not be effective in treating it. Most physicians recommend rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers or fever reducers when appropriate. There might be a slightly elevated risk for complications during pregnancy, so if you think you have it be sure to show it to your provider.

Hand washing is the best prevention for coxsackievirus. And of course if your child does develop this, it is important that she stays home from school or daycare until she is better so that other children do not become infected. The length of illness varies but it usually lasts for 2 or 3 days. Coxsackievirus is one of those things that most parents have to deal with at some point. Just know that soon it will be over and your little one will be back to her normal self.

Teething and fevers

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

crying-baby1Many Moms report that their baby develops a fever while teething. Their baby was fine, no fever, and then he starts teething and whammo!  Baby now has a fever, is irritable, crying and sick. So, they reason, the teething caused the fever…right?

As much as this seems to be an obvious cause and effect type of event, it has not been medically proven that teething can or does cause high fevers. In fact, it is accepted in the medical field that teething does NOT cause fevers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Teething occasionally may cause mild irritability, crying, a low-grade temperature (but not over 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.3 degrees Celsius), excessive drooling, and a desire to chew on something hard.” (see   )

By blaming teething for a fever, it is possible you may miss diagnosing an important problem that needs treatment. A fever is an indication that something is wrong – an infection, flu, virus, the ever miserable ear infection, or something else.  If your baby has a fever (whether or not he is teething), contact his health care provider.  You can read more about fevers on our blog, here. A baby may begin teething between 4 and 7 months of age, and the process continues until all teeth have come in.  It seems logical that when a baby is teething, he will undoubtedly put his fingers in his mouth, rub his gums, and put more toys in his mouth in an effort to stop the pain.

As a result, he may be more likely to become sick from the extra germs he picked up. Your teething baby will be more susceptible to infections and diseases, because the antibodies that he gained from Mom during infancy and his early months of breastfeeding, are now wearing off. He is becoming less protected from the germs of the outside world, so he will begin to “catch” colds and other infections. This is his body’s way of building up his own immunities against diseases. So, in a weird way, this is a good thing.

For tips on what you can do to decrease teething discomfort, view this short factsheet on teething from the American Academy of Pediatrics.   So, the bottom line is to be aware of any changes in your baby’s behavior. If you are concerned, or he has a fever,  take him to the doc. Once your baby feels better, you will feel better, too.

AAP symptom checker

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

symptom-checkerWhen I was pregnant for the first time, I read up on all sorts of things baby-related.  I remember worrying how I would know if my baby was really sick and when to call the doctor?  What should I do if my child develops a fever, cough, vomiting, rash, sore throat or head injury? Well, you modern day mamas are getting some help.  Here’s what a new AAP news release says – pretty cool!

A new symptom checker tool from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will help parents decide what to do next. The tool is available on HealthyChildren.org, the official AAP Web site for parents.  Parents can enter their child’s symptoms into the interactive tool and receive up-to-date advice about how to treat minor illnesses at home, or when to call the doctor immediately. The KidsDoc Symptom Checker is based on the clinical protocols used by pediatricians and nurses in 10,000 practices and 400 nurse advice call centers in the U.S. and Canada. These protocols have been tested for 15 years on more than 150 million phone calls. Each symptom care guide includes a decision chart to help determine the severity of the illness and how to manage it. The symptom checker also includes pediatric dosage tables by weight for common over-the-counter medications, images to help identify rashes, stings and bites, and first aid illustrations. The KidsDoc Symptom Checker is also available as a downloadable iPhone application called KidsDoc, providing the same expert advice when parents are on-the-go. Immediate connections are available to 911, your pediatrician or a nearby emergency department. The app can be download for a small fee or purchased from the iPhone App Store.

Now, this won’t replace taking your child to his doctor, but it could be a big help in figuring out how to start handling situations as they arise.

Frogs and salmonella

Friday, January 29th, 2010

21867110_thbAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more people are becoming sick because of pet frogs, particularly from African dwarf frogs. CDC investigator Shauna Mettee says, “cases from more than 30 states have been identified since April 2009. This outbreak is primarily affecting young children.”

People need to wash their hands thoroughly after exposure to amphibians and their habitats. This includes reptiles such as turtles, too. These are known sources of Salmonella infection in humans. Children under 5 should avoid all contact with these animals because they are more likely to develop severe symptoms. Symptoms can include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that can start 12–72 hours after infection.

National Flu Vaccination Week: It’s not too late to get your shots

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

flu-vac-week-2010Most pregnant women should be sure to get two flu shots this year: one for regular seasonal flu and one for the new H1N1 flu (also called swine flu). It’s not too late. Most health care providers now have plenty of vaccine.

Flu season isn’t over yet, so don’t wait. Flu can be very serious for pregnant women and the babies they are carrying. High fever is especially dangerous for a developing fetus. So get your shots right away.

And if you’re already a mom, check with your child’s health care provider. Most children should be vaccinated against seasonal and H1N1 flu.

For more info, watch the March of Dimes video on flu and pregnancy.