Fevers and Babies: the Alarming Truth

baby and nurse

The numbers are grim: in the United States, 11 babies out of 5,000 full-term births won’t reach one year old. This is even if the country has one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) revealed some of the common reasons for infant mortality. Besides pre-term birth and low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is to blame. It is responsible for over 1,500 deaths a year, according to government reports.

The most common reasons for infant death are congenital disabilities or congenital deformation. But there’s one more that can demand walk-in urgent are in Eagle Mountain: high fevers.

The Truth about High Fevers in Babies

The average body temperature of an adult is 37 degrees Celsius. Babies usually have a much lower temperature at 36.4 degrees Celsius.

Throughout the day, though, this number can fluctuate. It’s because newborns still don’t have the right mechanism to regulate their body temperature.

That can be a problem for parents, especially new ones, since they cannot quickly determine when the baby has a fever. Expert guidelines suggest that the baby might already have a fever if:

  • The temperature is already 38 degrees Celsius.
  • The baby feels hotter to touch, particularly in the forehead and cheeks.
  • The infant is showing signs of more discomfort.
  • The baby might no longer be feeding well.

Newborns with fever can benefit from urgent care, so healthcare providers can give them quick medical intervention. Those who are below two months old might even need emergency care.

The Dangers of High Fevers

sick baby

Most adults can survive high fevers without even visiting a healthcare facility. It’s not the same with newborns. Contrary to popular belief, babies are born with an immune system. Their mothers can pass on antibodies to them during the third trimester.

They can also develop their immunity as soon as they’re out. They can expose themselves to diverse microorganisms that help populate their gut. Mother’s breast milk contains colostrum, which strengthens their immune system.

It’s not as strong as that of an adult, however. It doesn’t mature until the baby reaches between 2 and 3 months old. They cannot fight viruses during the first few weeks of birth.

This implies that a virus that an adult body can quickly kill can wreak havoc to a baby’s health. They will develop infections quickly, and it might take longer for them to recover. The complications can even be severe, impacting their health in later years.

Take, for example, the consumption of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. A 2018 study revealed that this could increase the risk of obesity in the future.

It’s because antibiotics can significantly alter the community of microorganisms in the digestive tract that plays a crucial role in metabolism. This impact can be more serious among babies with a developing gut ecosystem.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infections are responsible for more than 35% of newborn deaths. Many of these infections, sadly, are preventable. If the baby is sick, the complications can be manageable with quick intervention.


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