When your kid has fever, you really don’t want to take any chances, but there is no need to panic either. It is important to know what the causes of fever are, what needs to be done in case of fever, and when to call for a doctor
What is a fever?
- Normal body temperature is 98.6°F, but children and infants can have a slightly higher normal temperature. Temperature over 100°F (37.8°C) represents fever. A fever is considered a ‘high fever’ when the temperature is above 104°F (40°C)
- Remember: Fever is beneficial to your child. It helps fight infections.
How should you measure your baby’s temperature?
There are 3 ways you can measure the temperature of your baby
- Mercury thermometer: Keep the thermometer snugly in your baby’s underarm for 1 minute, after wiping the area with a dry cloth.
- DO NOT add 1°F to the reading
- Fever Strip: Wipe the forehead of your baby with a dry cloth and apply the strip.
- Ear Thermometer: Place snugly in the ear and depress activation button for 1 second.
What causes a fever?
- Fever can be the result of too much clothing, overexertion or dehydration. It can also be a sign of infection or a reaction to certain immunizations
- Many high fevers are caused by infections that are not serious .If your child is alert and active and playing— don’t worry.
Is there any permanent damage when a child runs a very high fever and has convulsions?
- Febrile convulsions are common. 2 % to 4 % of all children have one or more episodes by the age of seven.
- They are not associated with damage to the nervous system.
- Children ‘outgrow’ febrile convulsions by the age of 5 – 7 years.
What should you do when your child has a fever?
- Encourage your child to drink extra fluids like coconut water, apple juice, weak tea with sugar, etc. Body fluids are lost during fevers because of sweating.
- Clothing should be kept to a minimum because most heat is lost through the skin. Do not bundle up your child.
- Medication: Give the correct dosage for your child’s age. Repeated dosages of the drugs may be necessary. Discuss the medication with your child’s pediatrician in advance during a visit to his clinic.
- Sponging : Sponge immediately in heat stroke, febrile convulsions and fever over 105°F
Sponging can help if fever is very high in spite of medications
Sponge your child with lukewarm water. Do not use ice/ ice water for sponging.
Sit your child in 2 inches of water and keep wetting the skin surface.
If your child shivers, stop sponging temporarily.
When should you call your doctor?
- Fever persists for more than 48 hours.
- Fever over 104°F (40° C) which does not subside or returns after medication.
- Fever plus earache or other localized pain ( i.e. abdomen )
- Fever plus urinary symptoms (such as pain with urination or lack of urination).
- Fever plus persistent vomiting or diarrhea, especially in an infant.
- Fever plus stiff neck.
- If your child appears to be extremely sick, is upset and inconsolable, cries when touched or moved or is difficult to wake up the child.
- Fever in an infant less than 3 months of age.
When in doubt about whether to call, go ahead and call.