A second significant risk to infants under 2 months of age is fever
. A baby's immune system in the first 2 months is still very immature; therefore babies less than 2 months old are very susceptible to infection. An infection could turn serious and possibly fatal to babies less than 2 months old. The fever itself is harmless, but a fever in a baby under 8 weeks old can be the first and only sign of a serious, life threatening
infection. For this reason, we take seriously any fever in a young infant. As a precaution, we typically admit babies less than 2 months with a documented fever directly to the hospital for observation and work-up for fever. Fever is defined as 100.4 degrees rectally (in the bottom). Don't check a temperature unless you suspect a problem, but if you do note a fever, you should call us immediately. Chances are it is just a virus, but we won't know for sure unless we do the necessary studies usually in an inpatient hospital setting. A fever means the body temperature is above normal. Your child has a fever if:
• The rectal temperature is over 100.4° F (38° C)
• The armpit temperature is over 99.0° F (37.2°C)
• The ear temperature is over 100.4°F (38° C)
When should I call the doctor? If your child has any of the warning signs listed below:
Under 2 months old: Call your doctor right away if your baby's temperature goes over 100.4° F rectally, even is he/she does not seem sick. Babies this young can get very sick very quickly.
2 to 3 months old: Call your doctor is
your baby has a temperature of 100.4° F (even if your baby does not seem sick) or a temperature of 99.5° F that has lasted more than 24 hours.
3 months and older: If your child has a fever of 101.4° F, watch how he/she acts. Call your doctor if the fever rises or lasts for more than 3 days.
In children 3 months to 2 years of age, if the temperature is 102° F, call your doctor, even if your child seems to feel fine