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When to Worry: Fever

Should you be concerned that your baby has a fever? Find out when he needs to be checked out by your doc.

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-It's hard not to freak out the first time your baby has a fever. But try to remember that a fever in and of itself is not dangerous. It's simply a sign that your baby's body is fighting off germs. If your infant feels like he's burning up, start by taking his temperature with a rectal thermometer. If it's over 100.4, that's a fever. Here are seven reasons to call your pediatrician. He's under 3 months old. His fever lasts longer than a few days. He's acting lethargic or unresponsive. He's having difficulty breathing. He has a febrile seizure. He has a rash or you notice signs of dehydration such as significantly fewer wet diapers or a sunken soft spot. The number on the thermometer is not as important as how your child is feeling. A lethargic child with 101 is much more concerning than a happy playful child with 102. Your pediatrician may recommend giving your baby acetaminophen to bring his fever down or ibuprofen if he's over 6 months old. A sponge bath may also help him feel better. Make sure he's still drinking plenty of liquids so he doesn't get dehydrated. And overall, try to stay calm and relaxed. A fever is just the body's way of telling you that he doesn't feel well.