As new parents, the biggest nightmare for me and Mr. Husband has been the times when our little baby went ill. Yes, even after taking all the precautions I’ve seen my child getting high fever sometimes. These little fellows are generally very vulnerable to the changing climatic conditions and in India, the temperature varies a lot. The summers are way too hot and air conditioning is badly needed in that season, followed by the monsoon that lasts for months making everything damp. Monsoons are the time when, in India, you not only need to take care of the cleanliness in the house but also all the food, baby stuff everything. It’s the flu season and vaccinations are the most important and first prevention that as parents we must take care of.
Even after that sometimes you’ll find babies getting high temperatures. For instance, I woke up one night to check on my little one, and at 1 am, I found him all flushed. He was cranky since the evening that day and wasn’t able to eat much. Generally when a 10-month-old toddler gets a temperature, we all think maybe the fever would be due to the teething that had started. Babies definitely are in pain with teething, and because of this they can get a temperature to say 99–100, but when the temperature is on the higher side of the scale and is repeating as a parent you must report it to the baby’s pediatrician.
My baby boy had a fever of 101.6 deg F the first night. As the first-timers, Mr. Husband and I panicked and at 1 am, it was a frightening moment for us. Because of the lockdowns due to COVID in the city, we were advised by the grandparents to keep some medicines in hand ready for the baby but we just missed. Why is it that we tend to ignore the advice that our elders give?
Anyways, what happened in those 3–4 days and what we learned from that experience might help new parents like us:
1. Thermal IR temperature reader
Always keep a thermal infrared temperature reader ready. It measures the temperature from the forehead. Though the rectal temps are the most accurate ones at times it is very tough with little toddlers to get the correct reading using the rectal thermometer. For accuracy, first, try it on yourself. My baby used to get irritated because of the rectal thermometer so the IR one was a lifesaver for us.
2. Wet cloth sponging
With high temperatures, along with the medicine start the wet cloth sponging. Do not just put a wet cloth on the baby’s forehead, but also put it on their palms and feet. It’s better to use lukewarm water instead of the ice-cold option. Sponge for 20–30 minutes and stop if you see your baby shivering.
3. Too much of layers
A general tendency is seen that we parents keep the babies wrapped with too many clothes. The climate in India is generally hot and with spikes of temperature the baby will start feeling uneasy in some time. Better is to put them in loose clothing and cover with a clean muslin cloth.
4. Proper hydration
A common mistake we all commit is that we just forget to give babies proper hydration. My little one is 10 months old and has no teeth yet. I changed his regular meal plans and loaded it up with a lot of liquids so that whatever the infection be it could pass away through urine. His diet mainly included
- Freshly squeezed juices of sweet lime and oranges for natural vitamin C
- Lentils soup for the proteins.
- Vegetable soup for much-needed fibers
- Give sips of boiled water brought down to room temperature.
It’s best to give mothers milk to the child in case the baby is too fussy to have anything all through the day. Breastmilk has some amazing properties to fight the infection. Also if the baby’s temperature is not going down, you may even wish to apply some expressed milk on your child’s forehead and armpits. I have tried it and this method works well.
6. Emergency medicines
Always keep the baby’s meds handy. Keep a stock of the medicines that your Pediatrician has recommended. Because of the lockdown, there were so many problems that I had to face while going out to the medical shops at odd hours. I have now separately prepared a medical box for my little one. It includes the following medicines:
- Paracetamol drops for a fever — to be given once the fever is more than 100deg F
- A combination of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol syrup in case the paracetamol drops don’t work.
- Colicaid drops for colic
- Teething biochemical formula tablets
- Vitamin D drops
- Baby cough syrup for wet and dry cough
- Lacto calamine lotion for any insect bite
- Nasoclear spray
- Lactobacillus probiotic sachet for loose motions
- An anti-emetic is used to relieve nausea and vomiting.
Well, this may sound too much but it’s always good to be ready for the unprepared times.
7. Consult your doctor
If the fever is persistent as parents we must always remember to visit the Pediatrician without any delay. A physical examination of the baby because of the fever that keeps coming again and again and does not subside on its own must be shown to the doctor. Anyways, these days most doctors do not give any medications unnecessarily and they believe in letting the baby’s immune system grow. So be patient and have faith in your doctor. Some pointers to help you during the appointment:
- The doctor will check on the vaccination chart so carry it during your visit.
- The doctor will ask about all the symptoms so be prepared. If you notice any change in babies’ health during this time do not forget to mention that.
- Write down all your queries to avoid any last-minute confusion.
- Understand all the medications and precautions to be taken.
- Last but not the least, do take your doctor’s phone number; in case you may need it for any unsaid emergency.
I have also documented the precautions to be taken during a doctor’s visit if you are taking the baby out at this time of quarantine. Remember to complete the dose of medications and keep the baby hydrated. I think with all the above-mentioned pointers things would ease out a bit but still watching your child sick is the most painful thing. Wishing for a healthy and quick recovery to the baby and family!
This post was previously published on Medium.com.