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High fever in a newborn . What to do?

High fever in a newborn . What to do?

We must admit that a high temperature in a newborn is a frequent cause of anxiety for parents. Is fever really so dangerous and what should I do at home if the baby is “burning”?
High body temperature (fever) in a newborn is not an independent disease, although this symptom can accompany many diseases.

All fevers can be divided into:

  • infectious (the cause that causes an increase in body temperature is various pathogenic viruses, bacteria);
  • non-infectious (functional), the cause of which may be a variety of factors that affect the operation of the thermoregulation center. High fever in a newborn can occur in various endocrine diseases as a result of the action of certain hormones, dehydration, neurosis, increased physical and emotional activity, etc.

In infectious fevers, high body temperature plays a protective role. It is in such conditions that the growth and reproduction of bacteria decreases. for many viruses, the only harmful factor is high temperature. With fever up to 39 °C, the human body actively produces immune defense proteins-immunoglobulins, and activates metabolic processes.High fever in a newborn . What to do?

However, when a certain threshold is exceeded (for each person it is different, but on average it is about 39-39. 5 °C), the protective function of the temperature reaction weakens. In such conditions, the supply of oxygen to tissues decreases, and the main processes of metabolism and vital activity of many cells of the body, primarily the Central nervous and cardiovascular systems, suffer.
Therefore, up to a certain level, fever itself is a protective factor, and only when this threshold is reached and exceeded, it is necessary to use antipyretic methods that are part of symptomatic (i.e., eliminating painful symptoms) therapy.

In cases of non-infectious fevers, the high body temperature of a newborn is only a response of the thermoregulation center to the influence of various factors (hormones, biologically active substances) and, as a rule, is not protective or compensatory.
Such fevers usually do not respond to treatment with antipyretics, so the therapy is aimed at eliminating the provoking factor (elimination of hormonal imbalance, sedatives, etc.).

What temperature will be considered normal?

Due to the lack of thermoregulation in a newly born baby, most of the body’s systems, although formed, are functionally immature. This is true for the Central nervous system, and for its part – the center of thermoregulation. Therefore, the processes of heat generation and its release are also imperfect. Newborns, especially premature babies, are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions – they easily overheat and freeze easily.

Normal body temperature in newborns varies in the range of 37.0+0.5 °C and depends on the place and time of measurement. The highest temperature values are recorded from 18 to 22 PM, and the lowest body temperature is typical for the early morning hours.

You can measure the temperature in the rectum (rectal temperature), in the armpit (axillary), in the mouth (oral), in the inguinal fold. The highest temperature is determined in the rectum, on average it does not exceed 37.6 °C, although sometimes it can reach 38.0 °C. This is about 1 °C higher than the axillary temperature and 0.3-0.4 °C higher than the temperature in the oral cavity.

However, for each baby there is an individual temperature norm, which may differ from the General average. To determine the individual norm of your child, you should measure his temperature when he is healthy, calm (in the absence of signs of malaise, illness) 3 times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). Babies up to 5-6 months are recommended to measure rectal temperature.

First aid for a newborn with a high temperature

The main rule: to all newborns with a high temperature, you must call a doctor! A high temperature of any level at the age of a child less than three months (in a newborn) is considered dangerous.


The most accurate device for determining the temperature remains the mercury medical thermometer. To measure rectal temperature, thermometers with a thick rounded mercury-containing flask are used.

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