Teething: does it really cause fever?

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Indy Lifestyle Online

I have never believed the old wives' tale about a fever being a sign of teething, but yesterday my baby was miserable and developed a temperature of 38.5C. Our GP found no local signs of infection, so we thought she must have a non-specific viral infection. This morning, lo and behold, her first tooth arrived. Was this just a coincidence, or did the teething cause the fever?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

I am always reluctant to say that a baby's fever is caused by "teething", not least because by doing so it is possible to miss an important cause of fever (such as an ear or urine infection) that might need specific treatment with antibiotics. But I am convinced that some babies do get a fever before a tooth erupts, probably the body's reaction to the trauma and inflammation caused by the tooth as it bursts through the surface of the gum.

The fever of teething is usually very short-lived - less than 24 hours - while a fever caused by a viral infection can go on for several days. I would be interested to hear from readers who are convinced that their babies developed fevers when they were teething.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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