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Your Baby Week Twenty Two (Five Months)

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Updated January 21, 2010

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Infant Care Tips - Fever
An axillary thermometer is likely the least accurate way to take a baby's temperature.

An axillary or under-the-arm thermometer is likely the least accurate way to take a baby's temperature when you are worried about a fever.

Photo © Fred Goldstein

Among all of the symptoms that their kids may have, such as a cough, sore throat, or vomiting, fever seems to be the one that parents often seem to worry about the most.

Taking a Temperature

One of the first things to consider about fever is whether or not your child even has a fever. Since simply feeling your baby's forehead to see if it is hot isn't a very accurate way to check for a fever, a mercury-free thermometer can be helpful.

At four or five months, temporal thermometers, which you simply scan across your child's forehead, and ear thermometers are becoming very popular among parents because they are fast and easy to use. You could also use a digital rectal thermometers, which are very accurate, but are not used as often now that your baby is over three months of age. Keep in mind that oral thermometers are also not usually used at this age because they must usually be held in the mouth for at least a minute or so, which can be difficult at this age.

High Fever

In general, a fever may be considered "high" and you should call your pediatrician if your child has a temperature at or above:

  • 100.4 F and he is under three months old
  • 101 F and he is between three and six months old
  • 103 F and he is over six months old

In most cases though, your decision to call your pediatrician will also depend upon what other symptoms your child has, such as fussiness, difficulty breathing, or not eating.

Fever Treatments

Treatments to relieve a fever depend on your child's age, and can include:

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Motrin (ibuprofen) if your infant is at least six months old

Additional treatments may depend on what is causing the fever, such as whether your infant has an ear infection.

Never give your child aspirin because of the risk of Reye's syndrome, a cold bath (a lukewarm one is better), or alcohol rubs.

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