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When should you worry about your baby's fever?

When should you worry about your baby's fever?

What is a fever for a baby?

A fever is when a person has a higher body temperature than normal. It’s possible your child may have a fever if their forehead is hotter than normal.

Fevers usually occur when the body is fighting against an infection. Be sure to take your child’s temperature if you feel they are hotter than usual. This can help you and your child’s doctor determine the best way to get your kid back to normal health.

Any temperature greater than an oral reading of 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 degrees Celsius) in the absence of physical activity in a normally dressed (and not too bundled) child at ambient temperature: or infant with a rectal temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever.


There are other indications of a serious fever other than the temperature.

Age plays a role because a fever is more serious for babies younger than 3 months.

Behavior is an indicator, because if a fever doesn’t keep your baby from playing or feeding like normal, there may not be cause for alarm.

Lastly, everyone’s temperature goes up in the late afternoon and early evening and falls during the midnight and early morning hours. This is a natural cycle but also is the reason why most doctors get calls about fevers during the late afternoon and early evening.

When is a fever a cause for concern?

A fever may be a sign of a serious infection. Call your doctor to discuss any concerns you have, especially if the following occur:

● A baby younger than 3 months is ill-looking or has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher.

● A baby 3 months and older looks and acts differently or doesn’t eat well.

● A baby is pale or flush, or has fewer wet diapers.

● You find a rash, which could be more serious when it occurs with a fever. Or if you find small, purple-red spots or large purple blotches, this can indicate a very serious infection.

● Your baby has trouble breathing (is breathing faster than normal or is working harder to breathe) even after you use a bulb syringe to clear their nose. This could indicate a respiratory illness.

● Your baby looks ill and has a temperature lower than usual (less than 97 degrees

F/36 degrees C). When babies are very young sometimes they become cold rather than hot while they’re sick.


Trust your judgement. If you believe your baby is ill, call a doctor no matter the temperature.


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