Newborn Babies: How Normal is a Normal Fever?

Fever in newborn babies definitely melts away the parents' brains. And rightly so, it should be a sign of concern. Why?

If your baby has fever, it is usually caused by some kind of bacterial infection. In adults, fever typically means that the body is trying to fight off an infection. However, if your newborn gets fever, you may be surprised to learn that taking him to the emergency room immediately is probably the best advice you will get. There are viral and bacterial infections which can affect your baby. The viral infections may be more common. However, bacterial infections can also happen as your baby gets older and such infections are also quite critical.

Why is fever a serious issue in newborns?

The reason why fever in newborn babies should be considered as a serious thing is that it can have dire consequences if left untreated. It is important to carry out some tests to determine the cause of the fever and these tests have to be carried out in a medical facility with qualified medical staff. Your baby’s doctor will probably act in a hurried manner in order to get your baby the care that he needs, especially if your baby’s fever remains in a high state of around 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

A complete septic analysis may be required to find out the extent of the fever and its root causes. In many cases, a spinal tap is also performed on your baby to further aid in providing an accurate diagnosis. This might seem quite scary and somewhat unbelievable to you, especially if you remain with your baby while these tests are performed and witness the procedures.

It is a difficult time for both the baby and the parent.

The sight of needles and other testing apparatus can be somewhat unnerving. Your baby will also probably be very uncomfortable with all the pressing and prodding and will require you to provide some reassurance to him, probably through your voice if you are unable to hold or touch him. However, there are medical facilities that will not let parents or caregiver come near the baby as testing is carried out because as these procedures can be somewhat traumatic for your baby, it can also have an impact on parents and caregivers.

Why Spinal Tap?

The spinal tap will help determine if there is anything going on within your baby's spine that could be a cause for concern. Fluid from the spine is extracted and sent to the lab for analysis. This is a preventive measure that seeks to find out if there is a more serious illness occurring within the spine and if this is the source of the fever. It is risky not to do this procedure because it can result in death if the source of the infection is not determined. In addition to a spinal tap, your doctor may also request that blood samples be taken from your baby to see if causative information can also be derived from the blood.

Additional symptoms, tests and results:

If your baby is presenting additional illnesses such as red patches, rashes, diarrhea, vomitting, dull eyes that seem to imply other illnesses, fist clenching episodes, a cough, runny nose, etc., these symptoms could be contributing to the fever and the medical team will be considering each symptom in their diagnosis. A urine sample may also be taken from your baby. After all the tests are performed, results will indicate the source of the fever and treatment can begin.

Sometime, even before tests are carried out, medication would have already been provided to your baby to help provide relief from the fever. If additional medication is required to treat the source of the fever, you will receive prescriptions for those as well.


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