Fever in the newborn, how to recognize and measure it

Fever in the newborn, how to recognize and measure it

Fever in the newborn can cause anxiety in new parents. How is it recognized? How should you behave?

Fever in the newborn, how to recognize and measure it

Fever in the newborn , especially if it is the first time it occurs, can cause anxiety and some indecision, especially in less experienced parents.

Fever is not a disease ; it is a symptom, a physiological mechanism of the organism; defense and also compensation .

Sometimes, in infants, but also in older children and adults, the fever is transient ; the temperature, that is, can increase following an effort, a strong stress, due to sweating, excessive external temperature or stay in an overheated environment.

When is fever in the case of a newborn?

Fever is a rise in body temperature above normal values. Each person has their own temperature and infants sometimes have it a little higher than older children and adults, due to the accelerated metabolic activity of a rapidly growing organism.

One can speak of fever if the external temperature is higher than 37 ° C , or 37.5 ° C , when it is measured rectally. 

The internal temperature , in fact, is 0.5 ° C higher than the external one. 

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How to recognize a fever in the newborn?

Parents, especially mothers, know the normal temperature of their newborns ” by skin “.

Especially when you are breastfeeding and you are in contact with your baby so much, body to body, an increase in temperature is perceived “naturally” and quite immediately.

It is also possible to notice that the baby has a fever if it is red and is breathing faster, almost wheezing.

When you have the feeling that your baby has a fever , the first thing to do is very simple and obvious: you have to measure it.

Yes: but which is the most suitable thermometer?

How to measure the fever in the newborn

Measuring the fever in the newborn may prove to be not too easy. Not all children, in fact, are collaborative .

In some it is easier to take the temperature in the armpit , in others it is easier rectally.

Especially the first time, therefore, it may be necessary to make a couple of attempts, to understand how to proceed; the best method is the one that causes less agitation and tears, therefore it is subjective.

The electronic thermometer is certainly a suitable instrument, because it is fast and accurate enough; it is also very useful that, when the temperature is reached, an acoustic signal is heard ; it may seem trivial, but when it comes to measuring the fever of the newborn it is a triviality that helps a lot.

For greater precision it is advisable to choose those with a flexible bulb that adapt more easily to the anatomy of the body and therefore it is easier to position them well.

The glass thermometer is very reliable and very accurate, but it takes a few more minutes; moreover, not being unbreakable, it is more delicate and can break.

Other thermometers are less accurate or, in any case, assume that the baby is very still in order to obtain a correct result, a condition that is not always easy to obtain.

When to call the pediatrician?

In the first two years of life, children often have a fever , sometimes transient fevers, while others are linked to viral or bacterial infections.

At the slightest indecision, for example regarding the dosage of paracetamol , the pediatrician should be called. In any case, in babies from 0 and three months, the doctor should always be called, if the internal temperature exceeds 38 ° C.

It is also necessary to call the pediatrician, even in the oldest child, in case of fever that has lasted for more than 24-48 hours or when other symptoms such as sore throat , cough , earache and vomiting are present .

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