A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more is considered fever by healthcare professionals. As you may know, fever is not an illness. It’s a sign that the body is fighting an illness or an infection. When your child is having a fever, they, quite naturally, become uncomfortable. The most common symptoms include the following:
They feel quite hot. But if you take the temperature, it may not be that high.
They are not very active or talkative – things that worry you.
They hardly feel any hunger, though they may complain of being unusually thirsty.
Fever & children
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises to seek immediate medical help if your child, younger than 3 months of age, has a temperature of 38 degree Celsius or more.
If your child feels discomfort due to fever, you should find ways to treat the fever. While the fever itself could be the result of an infection, treating fever doesn’t mean that the infection goes away. It helps in alleviating the discomfort though. Children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years tend to develop seizures from fever. It’s called febrile seizures. If your child, during a bout of fever, has shown symptoms of febrile seizure, it doesn’t mean that they have epilepsy.
What should you do if your child has fever?
You know self-medication is dangerous. All the more so when it comes to your child. Ask your child’s doctor to prescribe medicine. Don’t give them medicines which have been prescribed to you. Other than administering medicines, you can do the following things to keep them comfortable.
Don’t wrap them around in heavy clothes; dress them in lighter clothes. Excess clothing will result in an increase in body temperature.
Give them a lot of fluids to drink including juices and water.
Bathing your child in lukewarm water helps to an extent.
Different measures are suggested for children of different age groups. Let’s now take a look at them.
Age 0 – 3 months: If temperature is more than 38 degree Celsius when taken rectally, call your doctor even if the baby has no other symptoms.
Age 3 – 6 months: Temperature, if taken rectally, is up to 38.9 degree Celsius feed them plenty of fluids. While medication is not necessary at this stage, consult your doctor if the baby is unusually irritable, lethargic or uncomfortable. If temperature is above 38.9 degree Celsius, call your doctor; they may ask you to bring the child for further examination.
6 – 24 months: If temperature is above 38 degree Celsius when taken rectally, give medication as per your doctor’s prescription.
2 – 17 years: If temperature is up to 38.9 degree Celsius when taken rectally in 2 to 3-year olds and orally in the rest, encourage your child to drink plenty of water; medication is not required. If there’s significant discomfort or lethargy, consult your doctor.
Fever in children can cause a lot of anxiety in their parents, especially if they are younger. Most often fever is the outcome of an underlying infection or illness and goes away without a doctor’s intervention. However, never hesitate to seek medical help if you think that your child’s fever is getting out of control.