You quickly medicate Baby when you notice that she is slightly feverish.
Why you shouldn’t do it: Mild fevers (37.6 deg C to 37.9 deg C) aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s the body’s way of fighting an infection.
“Studies have shown that if you suppress the fever a lot, it may take an even longer time to recover from the illness,” explains Dr Dawn Lim, a consultant paediatrician at Kinder Clinic at Paragon Medical Centre.
Do this instead: Simple measures like giving Baby a sponge bath with room-temperature water might be good enough if her temperature is below 38 deg C, says Dr Lim.
If it still goes up, give her paracetamol. If that doesn’t help and her fever continues to spike, consider a dose of ibuprofen if she is not allergic to it, says Dr Lim.
“Don’t just look at the number on the thermometer. Look at the child,” she reminds. “If she looks unwell, my advice would be to see a doctor.”
You cover your feverish baby in a blanket to let her “sweat it out”.
Why you shouldn’t do it: There’s no scientific proof that this works. In fact, this could make her fever worsen and she might develop a febrile fit, which is usually associated with a spike in body temperature, warns Kang Phaik Gaik, a senior nurse manager and senior lactation consultant at Mount Alvernia Hospital.
Do this instead: Ditch the long-sleeved pyjamas and sweaters. Dress your little one in light clothing instead and keep her comfy in a well-ventilated room with open windows and an oscillating fan, she says.
Be sure to offer plenty of fluids to keep her hydrated. You’ll find it much harder to bring down fever in a dehydrated baby, says Dr Natalie Epton, specialist paediatrician and neonatologist.
(Also read: Baby sleeping with plush toy: what you should know)
You give your infant a cold bath when she is running a high fever.
Why you shouldn’t do it: This might sound like a logical solution, but Dr Epton advises against it.
The sudden low temperature will cause the skin’s blood vessels to shut down and redirect the heat to her core.
“Although your little one will feel cold on the outside, she’ll still be just as hot on the inside,” she adds.
Do this instead: Give her a sponge bath or put her in the tub filled with room-temperature water instead, suggests Dr Lim.
When sponging Baby, Phaik Gaik says you should pay attention to the armpits and groin area. Be sure to dry her afterwards.
Monitor her temperature every three to four hours and call the paediatrician if she has symptoms like poor feeding, irritability, drowsiness, tiredness, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhoea and rashes.
(Also read: What to do when Baby won’t stop coughing)
Watch our video below for all the do’s and don’ts.
To read more expert tips about managing fever in babies and toddlers, click here.
Watch other episodes in this series:
Episode 1: Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
Episode 2: Colds and flu in babies and toddlers
Episode 3: Fever in babies and toddlers
Episode 5: Vaccinations
Episode 6: Teething