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How to treat a newborn with a fever?

Every newborn with a fever should be assessed carefully, especially if it’s a fever of unknown origin (without any other symptoms). The concern during the first few months of life, is the presence of a bacterial infection that may spread to cause more serious conditions such as septicaemia or meningitis. The immune system of a newborn is not mature enough to fight these infections adequately and hence, recognising them allows for early treatment.

A fever is classically defined as a temperature of 38.5 degrees Celsius or above, but since the measurement of a newborn’s temperature is sometimes difficult or inaccurate, err on the side of caution and get your baby assessed by the pediatrician if you think they have a fever.

Other symptoms such as a runny nose and cough, while the baby is feeding and behaving more or less as normal are reassuring, as they point to simple viral infections. If a fever is accompanied by lethargy, lack of interest in feeding and changes in behaviour, you should get your baby seen as soon as possible.