Author: Dr Wu Lin Chieh, National University of Singapore
Fever is defined as a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more. It is daunting for many parents who have to deal with a cranky child with a high fever. However, it is important to note that the degree of fever does not indicate the severity of the illness which causes the fever.
When to bring the baby to see a doctor
If your baby is less than 3 months of age and having a fever, you should be bringing the baby to see a doctor immediately to rule out serious infection. Other warning red flags are lethargy, irritability, poor feeding, persistent vomiting, dehydration, breathing difficulties or poor urine output.
On the other hand, if your child is alert, feeds well and plays as usual despite having a fever, you can monitor the baby closely at home.
5 useful tips to deal with fever
#1 Light clothing
Do not over-wrap a child. Maintain light clothing to allow proper heat exchange.
#2 Cool environment
Keep the bedroom cool and well ventilated. Fan it if necessary.
#3 Oral medication
Medications are not cure! They only help to relieve your child’s fever. Consider paracetamol suspension to be given 4-6 hourly. Remember not to give paracetamol to a baby below 3 months of age. If the fever is high despite paracetamol, consult your pediatrician. You may give ibuprofen suspension or diclofenac suppository to break the fever. This should be given at least one hour after paracetamol if fever persists > 38.5 degrees Celsius. Ibuprofen and diclofenac should not be given to baby below 6 months of age.
#4 Shower or sponging
A warm shower or tepid sponging will remove heat from the body as moisture evaporates from the surface of the body. Your baby will love it.
#5 Febrile fit alert
Sometimes, a child may develop a fit alongside a fever, usually in the first day of fever or fever is very high. Watch out for it.
What to do for febrile fit
Firstly, don’t panic as seeing your baby fit is frightening. Lay the kid on a flat ground and tilt him slightly on his side, allowing his saliva to drain. Do not place anything into the child’s mouth as he may aspirate or choke. Usually a febrile fit will stop spontaneously within minutes. Bring the child to see a doctor once the fit stops. If the fit sustains for more than 5 minutes, call for an ambulance to bring the child to a hospital for medical help.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is solely of the author’s opinions