How Can I get my Baby's Temperature Down?
My baby has a high temperature
If you are reading this you are probably already worried. Your baby is not well and feels very warm. I know how worrying this can be, being a nurse, having brought up 3 of my own children and now helping with 4 grandchildren. First of all it might help you to know that babies usually get better as quickly as they get sick. A high temperature in a baby is usually when it goes above 37.5 degrees C or 99 degrees F. This is usually referred to as a fever.
Taking Baby's Temperature
Most thermometers now are digital and are easy enough to use. Some are tympanic, meaning you gently place them in the baby's ear for required time. Others are used under the baby's arm. Strip thermometers are normally not as accurate. You can also take a baby's temperature rectally. Please watch the video below for instructions on how to do this.
Causes of baby's high temperature
Infection can cause baby's temperature to go up
Too many layers of clothes or blankets can make a baby too warm.
When an infection enters your body, a message is sent to the temperature center in the brain which basically turns your body heat up and you have a temperature.
This is nature's way of killing some bacteria and viruses.
So temperature or fever is the body's way of fighting infection.
Should I worry about my baby's high temperature?
If your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature you should seek medical advice. If you can't contact your doctor, then contact the ER Center at your local hospital. It is a good idea to have these phone numbers somewhere you can easily find them quickly. If your baby is not responding, has breathing problems, is not feeding, has a rash or has vomiting and diarrhea contact your doctor or hospital immediately. With babies and young children, you can never be too cautious.
Treating baby's high temperature
If you think you need to contact the Doctor after you take baby's temperature, you can always give some Paracetamol or Calpol meantime. Always follow the instructions on the bottle and don't give your baby any more than is stated (Giving young babies more than the recommended dose is highly dangerous).
If you would rather not give your baby medication, then tepid sponging is an old and well proven method of helping reduce baby's temperature. Strip baby and lay them on a warm towel and half fill a basin with lukewarm water. Dip a cloth or sponge in the water and gently wipe baby down, starting at the head and taking care to sponge the underarms, the tummy and folds of skin around the tops of their legs. Take baby's temperature every 15 - 20 minutes to check if it is coming down.
Always remember that, very often, mums just know when their baby is really sick so don't hesitate to get help if you are at all worried. My brother-in-law is an MD and he says he would rather see a hundred babies with nothing wrong, than one that comes when it is really sick and should have come sooner. However most babies recover really quickly from what has caused their high temperature and are soon bright eyed and making lots of noise!