What to do for below-normal temperature in infants?

Even though most adults and older children can experience a fever once infection is present or other similar health conditions, infants can end up with either a fever or a drop in the temperature once infection starts. In case the temperature of the infant drops drastically, hypothermia will surely set in. Babies who are below 6 months of age entail immediate medical care if the temperature drops close to the point of hypothermia.

Normal body temperature

The normal body temperature for an infant typically ranges between 97-100 degrees F. The body temperature of the infant naturally fluctuates throughout the day, usually by full degrees. The low body temperature of an individual occurs early in the morning while the maximum body temperature is observable late in the afternoon. Regardless of the time of day, a temperature that falls above or below the standard range for infants can indicate a possible health condition.

Hypothermia versus fever

Below-normal temperature
Babies who are below 6 months of age entail immediate medical care if the temperature drops close to the point of hypothermia.

The infant has fever once the temperature increases above the standard range. Once this temperature drops far below that range, it is considered as hypothermia. Always bear in mind that hypothermia is known to occur once the body temperature of the infant drops below 95 degrees F.

Hypothermia typically occurs more often among newborns than the older infants but any child who ends up with the condition requires care. In case the infant is below 6 months old and has either hypothermia or fever, a doctor should be consulted or bring the child to the nearest emergency department.

What are the possible causes?

A drop in the temperature below the normal range usually indicates that there is a serious infection present. An infection becomes more likely if the child experiences other symptoms such as coughing, sinus congestion, diarrhea or vomiting.

Hypothermia has other potential causes to consider as well. Poor home heating and excessive use of air conditioning are the usual causes of hypothermia among infants. If the child is left with wet clothes on or exposed to cold temperatures for prolonged periods, it can also trigger a temperature drop. In addition, thyroid conditions can also affect the body temperature.

Treatment

Once the body temperature of an infant drops below 95 degree F, it is vital to seek immediate medical help from a doctor or bring the child to the nearest emergency department. If the temperature drops below 97 degrees F but stays above the hypothermia level, you can perform home treatment especially if you suspect that environmental temperature is the cause.

It is also recommended to move the child to a dry, warm location and change him/her with dry clothes and covered with a dry blanket. Always monitor the breathing and temperature of the child closely. Once the child appears to struggle while breathing or the temperature does not increase within 30 minutes or continues to drop, seek immediate medical care.

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