What is a fever?
A fever means the body temperature is above normal. Your child has a fever if his or her temperature is over 100.4 regardless of method used.
Tactile (touch) fever is the impression that your child has a fever because he feels hot to the touch. Checking a fever this way is more accurate than we used to think. But if you’re going to call the doctor, please measure the fever.
The body’s average temperature when it is measured orally is 98.6◦F (37◦ C), but it normally fluctuates during the day. Mildly increased temperature (100.4◦ to 101.3◦ F, or 38◦ to 38.5◦C) can be caused by exercise, excessive clothing, a hot bath or hot weather. Warm food or drink can also raise the oral temperature. If you suspect such an effect on the temperature of your child, take his temperature again in a half hour.
 What is the cause?
Fever is a symptom, not a disease. It is the body’s normal response to infections. Fever helps fight infections by turning on the body’s immune system. The usual fevers (100◦ to 104◦ , or 37.8◦ to 40◦ C), which all children get, are not harmful. Most are caused by viral illnesses; some are caused by bacterial illnesses. Teething does not cause high fever.
How long will it last?
Most fevers with viral illnesses range from 101◦ F to 104◦ F (38.3◦ C to 40◦ C) and last for 2 to 3 days. In general, the height of the fever doesn’t relate to the seriousness of the illness. How sick your child acts is what counts. Fevers cause no permanent harm. Brain damage occurs only if the body temperature is over 108◦ F (42◦ C). Fortunately, the brain’s thermostat keeps untreated fevers well below this level.
While all children get fevers, only 4% may develop a brief convulsion from the fever. This type of seizure is generally harmless.
How can I take care of my child?
•Extra fluids and less clothing
 Encourage your child to drink extra fluids, but do not force him to drink. Body fluids are lost during fevers   because of sweating.
•Medicines to reduce fever
 Remember that fever is helping your child fight the infection. Use drugs only if your child is also uncomfortable.
Two hours after they are given, these drugs will reduce the fever 2◦ F to 3◦ F (1◦ C to 2◦ C). If your child is sleeping, don’t awaken him for medicines.
Acetaminophen: Children older than 2 months of age can be given acetaminophen (Tylenol). Give the correct dosage for your child’s weight every 4 to 6 hours. Limit the dose to 5 doses/24 hours.
Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is similar to acetaminophen in its ability to lower fever. Its safety record is also similar. The FDA has approved it for infants over 6 months of age. One advantage ibuprofen has over acetaminophen is a longer lasting effect (6 to 8 hours instead of 4 to 6 hours). Children with special problems requiring a longer period of fever control may do better with ibuprofen. Give the correct dosage for your child’s weight every 6 to 8 hours.
Avoid aspirin: Doctors recommend that children (through age 21 years) not take aspirin if they have any symptoms of a cold or viral infection, such as a fever, cough, or sore throat. Aspirin taken during a viral infection, such as chickenpox or flu, has been linked to severe illness called Reye’s syndrome. If you have teens, warn them to avoid aspirin.
 If your child’s fever is not responding to acetaminophen or ibuprofen, you may sponge him in lukewarm water (85◦ F to 90◦ F, or 29◦ C to 32◦ C). Use slightly cooler water for emergencies. Sponging works much faster than immersion, so sit your child in 2 inches of water and keep wetting the skin surface. Cooling comes from evaporation of water. If your child shivers, raise the water temperature or stop sponging until the acetaminophen or ibuprofen takes effect.
Don’t expect to get the temperature down below 101◦ F (38.3◦ C). Don’t add rubbing alcohol to the water; it can be breathed in and cause a coma.


How do I take my babies’ temperature?
 A normal temperature in a newborn under two months of age is somewhat different than a normal temperature in an older child. A temperature measured rectally varying from 96.8◦ F significantly (i.e. below 96.8 or above 100.4◦ ) may be a sign of infection in a child under two months of age and should promptly be evaluated. We recommend checking temperatures in newborns when your child feels warm, acts ill, feeds poorly or shows signs of respiratory problems. A digital rectal thermometer is most accurate and is the ONLY method recommended for taking an infant’s temperature in the first few months.
To take a rectal temperature, lay your baby stomach down on your lap. Put some petroleum jelly on the end of the thermometer and on the opening of the anus. Slide the thermometer gently into the opening of the anus. If your child is less than 6 months put it in until the silver tip is not visible. Hold your child still and leave the thermometer in until the digital thermometer beeps (usually about 20 seconds).
Since babies respond quickly to environmental temperature, temperatures should not be taken shortly after your baby has been tightly bundled or exposed to cold. Along the same line of thinking, use your own comfort level as a gauge of how to dress your infant. Full term infants should be dressed in only one light layer more than you are comfortable in. Extremely small infants may require and additional layer.

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Posted: 1/8/2020 11:52:56 AM | with 0 comments