Dealing With Baby’s Fever 103.4

Sung to “You Give Me Fever” by Peggy Lee:

Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
You’ve got a fever that’s so hard to bear

Baby, you’ve got fever – FEVER!

(tips on fevers below)

For the past 2 days, I’ve been up round the clock with our little one.  Evelyn has had a fever ranging from 102 – 103.4.  Other than being fussy and not being able to sleep (and oh yeah, burning up like an inferno) there are no obvious signs of an illness.

I called our pediatrician around 3pm yesterday and talked to the nurse oncall.  She said that a fever of 102.5 in an 8 month old baby is fine.  It means that she is probably fighting a virus of some sort.  In the absence of other symptoms, she said not to worry and give her tylenol.  If her fever went above 103 and she had problems breathing then we should take her to the ER.

Here’s the hubby’s gratuitous shot of Oliver eating to prove that he did feed our son dinner yesterday while my hands were busy with Evelyn. 

Evelyn’s temp did rise to 103.5 last night and I was ready to head over to the emergency room.  On a whim, I called the pediatrician again and spoke with the evening oncall nurse at 1am.  She was absolutely fabulous in both troubleshooting Evelyn’s fever and soothing my frazzled nerves.  She saved us a trip to the ER and made an appt for a follow up visit this morning with a Dr.

Here’s what she had to say about fevers:

1) In a baby over 3 months, a fever between 102 and 104 is considered moderate.  She called it “a good working fever” and said that Evelyn’s body was battling a virus.  She said that if her fever reached 105, then we’d want to bring her to a doctor.  She said fevers weren’t deadly until 108.  The caveats – Evelyn had NO other symptoms, was alert, not grunting or wheezing, and appeared normal.

2) Do NOT give your baby a cool or tepid bath in an attempt to bring down the fever.  This is contrary to what is plastered all over the internet in baby forums.  If your baby is 102+, sponging on or bathing in cool water sort of sends the body into shock and it will go into overdrive trying to heat itself up thereby making the fever worse.  If you really want to bring down the fever, she said to let the baby sit in a bath of 101 degrees for up to 30 minutes and to remove her the instant she gets chills or starts to shiver.

3) Give your baby infant Tylenol or infant Ibuprofen to bring down the fever.  Either product should bring down the fever by 1 or 2 degrees minimum.

4) Lightly dress your baby in just a diaper and onesie and do not use a blanket.  If they are really hot, just have them wear a diaper.  No jammies.

5) Breathing fast and shallow is normal during a fever and is not a cause to go to the ER.  Evelyn was breathing very rapidly, sort of like panting, and we were scared.  She said that was normal and we were better not going to the ER and exposing her to a ton of other germs.  Labored breathing, where the baby grunts, wheezes, or you can visibly see his ribs and muscles on the side of his body struggling is a different story.

6) Keep baby hydrated, hydrated, hydrated!  Breast milk is best, because you will be giving your baby antibodies to help fight the virus.  If not, then give her formula.  Supplement with plenty of water or pedialyte.  If she won’t take the breast, bottle, or cup, use a syringe and squirt liquid into her cheek for her to swallow.  Feed her at least every 2 hours, if you can, while she has the fever.

7) Fevers caused by viruses tend to wind down after 3 days (72 hours).  If she is feverish for more than 3 days, then she needs to see the doctor and have tests run.  They would draw her blood and check her urine via a catheter to start with.

That was about it and thank goodness for the night nurse!  I was near tears with worry as Evelyn was burning up.  I ended up holding her for most of the night so she could sleep a little.  The poor thing was just miserable.  We went in this morning to the pediatrician and Evelyn left with a clean bill of health.  The doctor said to take infant ibuprofen and come back on Saturday if the fever is still there.  Her temp maxed out at 103.4 today, but after ibuprofen she came down to 101. Yay!

She is so tired that she passed out on the floor after dinner tonight.  The hubby is about 3 feet away zonked out too.

Oy vey, there’s nothing scarier than being helpless while your baby is in pain. We are crossing our fingers that she is teething as she has started tugging on her ears tonight and gnawing on her fist.  Wish me luck getting through tonight with more than 1.5 hours of sleep!

Have you been through a fever scare with your baby?  Did you end up in the ER?

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