In most cases of fever among newborns, they are usually worrisome but the increase in the temperature of an infant younger than 3 months of age requires immediate medical care. The route where the temperature of the child was taken is vital since each area of the body provides varying readings.
The normal rectal temperature among newborns is 97.9-100.5 degrees F while a normal reading from the axilla is 98-99.5 degrees F. If the temperature of the newborn is higher than these ranges, it indicates fever.
Close look on fever
Always bear in mind that fever is often the initial or only symptom of sickness among newborns and even a low fever can indicate the presence of a potentially life-threatening infection. Due to this, even a minor increase in the temperature of the newborn is vital and requires immediate medical care. Essentially, any increase in the temperature of an infant less than 3 months old requires proper assessment by a doctor and if the fever is higher than 100.4 degrees F, it requires immediate medical care.
Purpose of fever
Fever among newborns and children of all ages are actually a positive indication since it indicates that the immune system is working to fight off an illness or infection. Most bacteria and viruses thrive in temperatures close to normal body temperature and by increasing the temperature; the environment becomes less hospitable to the invading organisms. In addition, fever also triggers the white blood cells in the body to start fighting the infection.
What are the causes?
Among newborns, fever is potentially triggered by ear infections, common cold and other minor viral infections. Infants are at risk for potentially serious bacterial infections both from passage in the birth canal and from the environment. Luckily, serious bacterial causes of fever among newborns such as pneumonia or meningitis are uncommon. Autoimmune disorders, dehydration and other illnesses can also cause fever among newborns. Infant vaccinations are also another possible cause.
When managing low fever among newborns, continue to breastfeed or bottle-feeding to prevent dehydration. You can administer infant acetaminophen drops and a lukewarm sponge bath to reduce the body temperature of the newborn.
As for infants who are less than 1 month old, they might be too young for over-the-counter fever reducer dosages and require a dosage that is calculated by a doctor. Any newborn that starts running a fever without a current diagnosis should be checked by a doctor for proper care. The high fever or cases that are accompanied by rashes, lethargy, refusal to eat or other symptoms require emergency care for testing and intravenous antibiotics.