Fever in a Newborn Symptoms & Causes

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In-Depth

Fever in newborns may be due to one of the following:

  • Infection: Fevers are normal responses to infection in adults, but only about half of newborns with an infection have fevers. Some, especially premature babies, may have a lowered body temperature with infection or other signs such as a change in behavior, feeding or color.
     
  • Overheating: While it is important to keep a baby from becoming chilled, a baby can also become overheated with many layers of clothing and blankets.
    • This can occur at home, near heaters or near heat vents. It can also occur when a baby is over bundled in a heated car.
    • Avoid placing a baby in direct sunlight, even through a window.
    • Never leave a baby in a hot car even for a minute, since her temperature can rise quickly and cause heat stroke and death.
    • An overheated baby may have a hot, red or flushed face, and may be restless.
    • To prevent overheating, keep rooms at a normal temperature, about 72 to 75 degrees F, and dress your baby just like you and others in the room.
       
  • Low fluid intake or dehydration: Some babies may not take in enough fluids which causes a rise in body temperature. This may happen around the second or third day after birth. If fluids are not replaced with increased feedings, dehydration (excessive loss of body water) can develop and cause serious complications. Intravenous (IV) fluids may be needed to treat your baby's dehydration.
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