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What not to do when Baby has a fever

Avoid these common mistakes that parents make when their young child has a fever.

 

Young Parents Team
magyoungparents@sph.com.sg

1. You quickly medicate Baby when you notice that she is slightly feverish. 

Why you shouldn’t do it: Mild fevers (37.6 deg C to 37.9 deg C) aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s the body’s way of fighting an infection. 

“Studies have shown that if you suppress the fever a lot, it may take an even longer time to recover from the illness,” explains Dr Dawn Lim, a consultant paediatrician at Kinder Clinic at Paragon Medical Centre.

Do this instead: Simple measures like giving Baby a sponge bath with room-temperature water might be good enough if her temperature is below 38 deg C, says Dr Lim. 

If it still goes up, give her paracetamol. If that doesn’t help and her fever continues to spike, consider a dose of ibuprofen if she is not allergic to it, says Dr Lim. 

“Don’t just look at the number on the thermometer. Look at the child,” she reminds. “If she looks unwell, my advice would be to see a doctor.”

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2. You cover your feverish baby in a blanket to let her “sweat it out”. 

Why you shouldn’t do it: There’s no scientific proof that this works. In fact, this could make her fever worsen and she might develop a febrile fit, which is usually associated with a spike in body temperature, warns Kang Phaik Gaik, a senior nurse manager and senior lactation consultant at Mount Alvernia Hospital.

Do this instead: Ditch the long-sleeved pyjamas and sweaters. Dress your little one in light clothing instead and keep her comfy in a well-ventilated room with open windows and an oscillating fan, she says. 

Be sure to offer plenty of fluids to keep her hydrated. 

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3. You give your infant an ice cold bath when she is running a high fever. 

Why you shouldn’t do it: This might sound like a logical solution, but Phaik Gaik advises against it. “Baby will get chills and her temperature might rise further,” she explains. 

Do this instead: Give her a sponge bath or put her in the tub filled with room-temperature water instead, suggests Dr Lim. 

When sponging Baby, Phaik Gaik says you should pay attention to the armpits and groin area. Be sure to dry her afterwards. 

Monitor her temperature every three to four hours and call the paediatrician if she has symptoms like poor feeding, irritability, drowsiness, tiredness, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhoea and rashes.

(Photo: 123RF.com)

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