It’s not a fever, it’s too low!

It’s not a fever, it’s too low!

For parents who live in cold-weather regions, the risk of hypothermia is real. Environmental factors can make you and your child’s risk for hypothermia increase significantly. The best way to combat the risk of hypothermia is to get informed about what hypothermia is, how to treat it, and how you can prevent hypothermia from happening to your child. 

woman in red knitted cap and black top holding baby with brown carrier
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What Is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a very serious medical emergency that happens when your body loses heat faster than it produces heat (Mayo Clinic). When your body loses heat too quickly it can cause problems that need to be addressed immediately. Your nervous system doesn’t function properly, organs begin to shut down, your respiratory system and heart will slow down as well. If left untreated, hypothermia can cause frostbite. This occurs when tissues in the body have completely died and lose functionality. In extreme cases, hypothermia can lead to death

What Are The Signs Of Hypothermia?

The good news is that hypothermia is easily treatable and there are early warning signs. These signs include:

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech or muttering
  • Slow breathing
  • Lowered pulse
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness or low energy
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bright red, cold skin (in infants)

Since hypothermia happens gradually, people are often unaware they are experiencing hypothermia. It’s important for people to be aware of the early warning signs to prevent a medical emergency.

What Causes Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is often caused by exposure to a cold environment. A cold environment can be made dangerous with additional environmental factors such as a cold wind or being wet. These can dramatically change a person’s ability to withstand the cold weather and, if left unchecked, can lead to hypothermia.

empty road between trees and snowy hills in winter
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How To Treat Hypothermia

If hypothermia symptoms are mild, treatment is fairly easy to implement. The first step is to always relocate the person to a warmer location. Once that is done, things like removing any cold, wet clothing and replacing them with dry, warm layers can help a lot. Other treatment options include drinking a hot beverage and using blankets. However, if the onset of hypothermia has become severe, seek medical attention immediately.

What Parents Need To Know About Hypothermia

Some cold environmental factors parents often don’t think about is how cold a baby or child’s room is, how cold a car is in the winter, and outside play in the cold weather. These are common environments that can lead to hypothermia if left unchecked. Babies and children lose heat more quickly than adults do, so being attentive to their environment is critical to preventing hypothermia. The smaller the child, the more quickly hypothermia has the potential to take effect.

What Can Parents Do?

Hypothermia can lead to more serious health problems in babies and small children so it is critical that parents be mindful of their child’s environment and their clothing. The general rule of thumb for dressing a child is to wear one additional layer to whatever an adult would comfortably wear. For example, if the weather requires an adult to simply wear a jacket to be comfortable, the child will need a sweater and a jacket to be comfortable outside. In addition to wearing warm layers, parents need to also pay attention to the early warning signs of hypothermia and get their child to a warmer location when needed.

baby s red jacket
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Creating a safe, warm sleeping environment can be a little more challenging. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping blankets and other loose items out of the crib until at least 12 months of age. This means parents need to use warm sleepwear and keep the room at a constant temperature to keep their sleep environment safe and comfortable.

Being Proactive About Hypothermia

For the parents who are concerned about hypothermia in children, the recommendation is to monitor the child’s temperature regularly. This can be done easily with a LoveyQ wearable baby monitor. This wearable monitor lets parents know what the temperature of their child is and alerts parents if there are concerns. This can help parents to prevent the onset of hypothermia when it becomes difficult to gauge how cold the child is. Whether the child is sleeping or playing outside the monitor can give valuable insight into the overall health and well being of the child. It can even alert parents to problems before the symptoms begin which is the key to prevention in hypothermia. 

References:

Hypothermia – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. (2020, April 18). Mayo Clinic.

Christiano, D. (2020, November 6). Identifying and Treating a Low Body Temperature in Babies. Healthline: Parenthood.

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2021). Safe Sleep: Recommendations.

How To Respond To Your Baby’s Temperature: And What To Do If It’s Abnormal

How To Respond To Your Baby’s Temperature: And What To Do If It’s Abnormal

Every first-time parent gets concerned when they see their child is starting to run a fever. Even veteran parents may experience a memory lapse when it comes to remembering how to care for a baby with a fever. Sure, veterans parents have done this before–but that was years ago and lets be real, those early months are a blur. If you find yourself in need of knowing how to care for a baby with a fever there are a few things you need to know. 

It’s hard for parents to know what the right thing to do is–we understand. We as parents are all doing our best to love our little ones to the best of our abilities and make sure they are healthy. Part of that means caring for them and being informed. We need to look at what causes fevers, how we measure fevers, and what to do when the fever is abnormal

What Causes Fevers?

Fevers can be caused by any number of things from an overdressed infant, to a hot summer day, and even as a small reaction to a recent vaccination. A fever doesn’t necessarily mean that your baby is sick, it is a symptom of illness. The struggle for parents is to determine if the fever is being caused from something innocuous, like a hot day or being overdressed, or if it’s being caused by an illness.

smiling woman with a baby reaching for a flower
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According to *Advanced Pediatrics Associates, “Most pediatricians consider a temperature 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher a sign of a fever”(Fever and Your Child, 2021). If the fever is being caused by an illness there are some other symptoms that are usually paired with the fever. Additional symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, or change in sleeping patterns. That being said, if the fever exceeds 100.4 call your pediatrician regardless of if there are secondary symptoms of illness. Fevers in children, especially babies, can change dramatically for the worse with seemingly no warning so monitoring their temperature is critical when assessing their condition. 

How Do You Take A Baby’s Temperature?

There are a few different ways to take a baby’s temperature. The first thing to consider is which device you plan to use to take your baby’s temperature with. Here are some options to consider…

  1. Digital Thermometer: Digital thermometers are the most common devices to use when taking a temperature. They can be taken through the rectum, the mouth, or under the armpit and left in that sport for a few moments before the device will display the temperature. When it comes to babies and children, it can be a hassle to fight them for the few moments the device needs to get a reading, but it’s workable and often what most parents of babies and children use.
  1. Digital Ear Thermometer: These devices can be a little more expensive but they are quick to use. You inset the device into the baby’s ear and in seconds a temperature reading will display. Some parents like these devices over traditional digital thermometers because you don’t have to fight the baby as much to get the reading. However, know that there are disposable ear tip caps that need to be replaced often because of earwax buildup.
  2. Temporal Artery Thermometer: Before covid hardly anyone had seen these devices and now they have become commonplace. These are the forehead scanners that can get a temperature reading. They are simple to use, place the scanner on the baby’s forehead and in a few seconds a temperature reading will display. These devices are expensive and most households don’t have these. They are great when a daycare or a school needs to get the temperature reading of a lot of babies or children in a small amount of time. It is worth noting that of the temperature taking devices, this is the least accurate device on the market.
  3. LoveyQ Monitor: This is a wearable device designed for babies that can read your baby’s temperature regularly. What makes the device really useful is that while it checks your baby’s temperature it also monitors other symptoms such as heart rate, breath, cough detection and so forth. This way if your baby has a low fever at bedtime, the LoveQ device would alert you if their temperature has a sudden spike overnight. This product offers continuous monitoring and can track a multitude of different vital signs, as well. This allows parents to get a complete picture of their child’s overall well being. 

How you take your baby’s temperature matters. For the sake of accuracy you need to make sure you are taking their temperature correctly and often. The Mayo Clinic has some helpful guidelines for how to safely and accurately take a temperature (Thermometer Basics: Taking Your Child’s Temperature, 2020). Whatever device you choose to use, make sure you monitor for other symptoms and check their temperature often. 

What Do You Do When Your Baby Is Sick

In the event your baby’s fever is, infact, due to illness there are a few things you can do to help care for your sick little one. 

  1. Medication: Knowing what medication to take really needs to get approval from your pediatrician first. Generally, for fevers, infant Tylenol is the recommended course of action for medication. The dosage will depend on how much your baby weighs. There is also a helpful insert inside the box as well. As always, check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any medication to make sure it is safe.
  2. Hydration: Keeping you baby hydrated is important. Babies get most of their hydration from their milk. However, when your little one is sick, their appetite is often off as well. The recommendation is to take pedialyte . It is a simple electrolyte solution that is safe for babies and it’s effective at rehydration. It’s simple, it’s sweet, and you don’t need a prescription to get any, most drug stores have this in stock (Pedialyte for Babies: Benefits, Dosage, and Safety, 2020).
  3. Congestion Relief: It’s important to note that kids under the age of 4 are difficult to treat for congestion relief because most decongestants are not safe at that age. Some helpful, non-medicinal, treatment options for congestion relief include…
    1. Saline solution
    2. Bulb syringe
    3. Humidifier or steamer
  4. Sleep: This is a hard one because babies and toddlers often rely on their caregivers for comfort and this can make sleeping while sick really tough. This means a lot of cuddles and anything to help make your little one comfortable. 

Being sick is not fun for anyone, babies included. Truth be told, it isn’t fun to be the parent responsible for caring for a sick baby, either. Make sure you ask for help if you’re getting overwhelmed caring for your baby, too. It’s exhausting, but as parents we do everything out of love.


What Do You Do When The Fever Is Abnormal? 

An abnormal fever is something all parents are fearful of and it can be easy to think that any fever could be an abnormal fever. An abnormal fever is one that lasts longer than 2-3 days or is coupled with a secondary concerning symptom. Examples of concerning symptoms include severe trouble breathing, seizure, shaking or chills, trouble moving, or any medical history that is indicative of a weakened immune system. When it comes to abnormal fevers in babies the key to managing the illness comes down to constant monitoring of symptoms. This is where having a wearable device, like LoveyQ, is absolutely critical to managing and tracking your baby’s symptoms so that they can get the care they need. 

woman and her child sitting while holding a cat
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Now that you know the basic ins and outs of navigating your baby’s fever, rest easy knowing that there is a community of parents cheering you on and supporting you. We are all here to help support each other and share what we know. All babies get sick sometimes and you can handle this–you’re doing a great job!

Nicole Tursich

Sources:

Fever and Your Child. (2021, January 14). Advanced Pediatrics 2019. ).

Pedialyte for Babies: Benefits, Dosage, and Safety. (2020, May).

Thermometer basics: Taking your child’s temperature. (2020, November 20). Mayo Clinic.

Why is it important to keep track of the baby temperature?

Why is it important to keep track of the baby temperature?

If there is a question that being asked a lot by pediatricians when your child is sick, it will be “does he/she have a fever?” And there are good reasons for them to ask that question since it could be an indicator that your child is fighting some infections, or it could be something more serious. Fever not only makes our child uncomfortable, but it could also result to other problems, such as dehydration, or convulsion (febrile seizures).

Therefore, it is important to keep track of the baby temperature, especially in the first few months and years of life.

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It is amazing that we have a smart “thermostat” in our own body. Interesting fact, do you know that hypothalamus (which is a part of our brain!) is responsible for regulating our own temperature to make sure everything works properly? In babies and children, the normal average temperature is between 97.9°F (36.6°C) to 99°F (37.2°C). However, there are time that the body temperature rises in response to infection, illness, or other environmental factors. 

One of the common causes is overdressing your child, especially newborns since they don’t regulate their body temperature very well yet. Sometimes, immunization could also cause low-grade fever. It is a sign that the body is developing the immunity. The fever can also be caused by either viral or bacterial infection. Colds and flu are the most common viral infections. The symptoms can start with fever and follow with runny nose, cough, loose stools, or rash (roseola). A bladder infection and strep throat are good examples for bacterial infections which often cause unexplained fever, or more extreme example is sepsis (a bloodstream infection). Bacterial infections and fever in newborn babies (3 months or younger) are serious. It can get worse very quickly and need to seek medical treatment immediately. There is also meningitis, a very rare but serious bacterial infection, that infects the membrane cover the spinal cord and brain, and if it is not treated immediately could cause brain damage. It is always best that parents get medical attention and advice for fevers.

Myth vs. Fact, research show that “teething” does not cause fever contrary to many believe.

There are many ways to get children temperature from temporal artery, ear, oral, armpit to rectal. And there are many options available for thermometers as well: digital thermometer (specifically designed for ear, temporal or rectal), skin strip, or infrared thermometer. Tips for parent, ALWAYS use digital thermometer to check children temperature, and for my international friends NEVER use mercury thermometer (since I know that US has not been produced or sold mercury thermometer in years). Skin strip is not recommended since it doesn’t give accurate result, especially for newborns. Even though rectal measurement is more recommended, it is certainly not the easiest way to achieve the result. 

If you have ever done it, holding a screaming, irritable child in the middle of the night, trying to measure his/her temperature, while he/she is wiggling away is never an easy process. And just when he/she is falling asleep, you would want to measure it again to make sure everything is good. And here we go, the cycle repeats itself, until the sun rises, and you haven’t slept a wink. But as soon as you hold that baby in your arms, looking at him/her sleeping peacefully, all that tiredness and worry disappeared. That is a part of being a parent!

P.s: Just make sure that you invest in a nice thermometer or baby temperature monitor to keep an eye on your child wellbeing and make those challenging night a little bit easier on both of you and your child.

Anne Lonero