After I deliver a baby and the parents take their little bundle of joy home, they become used to taking care of their newborn and recognizing all their needs. But at some point, that little infant may spike a fever, which can be frightening, especially for young parents.
The first thing to do is always check with your pediatrician. When in doubt, take your child to the emergency room.
However, in many cases a fever in an infant may not be a major problem. First things first, know the proper definition: if your baby's fever is higher than 100.4 degrees, call your doctor.
For a mild to moderate fever, your pediatrician may ask you to try to lower the fever at home.
Here are 4 vital steps you should take when your baby has a fever:
Know how to take a temperature
There are many devices out there that can take your child's temperature properly. I remember when my mother used to use a mercury thermometer. Today, with digital technology, you can find many digital thermometers at the pharmacy that are quite accurate. There are different parts of the body that a temperature can be taken, but remember, rectally is the most accurate.
Keep your child hydrated
When your child has an elevated temperature, they can become dehydrated. In small children dehydration can develop very quickly. There are many types of electrolyte solutions on the market that can be effective. Breast milk is another great way to hydrate you child. Always monitor the baby to make sure his or her diapers are wet and that they are producing enough saliva.
Keep your child comfortable
Making sure you do everything you can to keep your baby comfortable is very important. Do not overdress your baby with heavy clothing or blankets. Also be sure to keep the temperature in the room at a normal level.
Check with your doctor on medications
Before giving your infant any medications, always check with your doctor to make sure both the type and the dosage are acceptable. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help bring down an elevated temperature. But remember aspirin in babies has been linked to Reye's syndrome, an extremely rare but serious illness that can affect the brain and liver, making it all the more vital to check with your doctor.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.