Sooner or later, your new baby will develop a fever. It would be a rare child who does not come down with some kind of illness that elevates their temperature. Babies can get fevers for a variety of reasons, and understanding the whys, can help you determine if you should call your doctor.
On a warm day, and over-dressed baby, particularly an active or squirmy one, can become flushed and hot. When their temperature is taken it is up. The first thing to do is remove some clothing, and place the child in a cool spot to rest or play quietly. Take their temperature again in 20-30 minutes, if there are no signs that their distress is increasing. Chances are, it will be headed back towards normal. Sometimes just a very active play session in hot weather can make a toddler’s temperature go up, and the cure is the same: remove some clothes, and cool down by taking a break.
Most fevers are the result of a child’s body fighting off an infection of some sort. As white blood cells become active and mount a defense, their temperature will rise, and they may develop other symptoms, including coughing, excessive crying, restlessness, listlessness, lack of appetite, unwillingness to drink, diarrhea, and vomiting. But occasionally, fever is the only symptom, and many times, it does not seem to interfere with their activities or behavior.
Generally speaking, a child with a fever, who has other symptoms of distress like vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive crying, may have an illness that requires medical attention. Take their temperature, and call your pediatrician with the results. Be prepared to give them a list of the symptoms. They may ask that you administer a fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen, or if they are over six months of age, ibuprofen. It is best not to administer these on your own, if the child becomes ill suddenly, as the doctor may want to assess their condition without some of the symptoms being masked.
In addition to the medication, you can sponge your baby off in the tub, with lukewarm water, running it over their whole body and head. If the doctor has asked that you call them back after a specified time-lapse, be sure that you take note of any changes in their condition.
A rule of thumb for calling the doctor is for infants under three months, the temperature should be above 100F, and if they are over three months, a temperature of over 101F. Often times, the more obvious illnesses like flu, with a temperature and vomiting, are easier to diagnose than a temperature with no other symptoms.