FEVER IN CHILDREN
Fever is one of the most common reasons for calling a Paediatrician.
The most accurate ways of taking your child’s temperature are orally or rectally with a digital thermometer. Fever is defined as 100.4 oF (rectal) and 99.4 oC (axillary).
Fever is one of the signs that the body is fighting an infection e.g. viral or bacterial.
Once the child is less than 4 weeks (28 days) seek medical attention right away, because babies this young can get sick very quickly.
One to three months can be observed for 24 hours at home. [But see note on when to seek medical attention].
Older than three months can be observed for up to 72 hours with temperatures of up to 101.4 oF. [But see note on when to seek medical attention].
If your child has a low grade fever that isn’t affecting his behaviour offer him plenty of liquids to bring his body temperature down and to prevent dehydration. NOT teas or caffeine, as these increase urine output. Offer juices (glucose) and rehydration salts along with normal diet.
If temperature is high grade lower it with lukewarm water baths. NEVER sponge using alcohol. Alcohol may be absorbed into the blood stream through the skin and may depress breathing, decrease blood sugar and cause seizures.
Medications to be offered include Acetaminophen (Panadol, Tempra, Cetamol), Ibuprofen or Cataflam.
NEVER use Aspirin in anyone less than 20 yrs old, as it may cause Reye’s Syndrome, a disorder that may damage liver, brain and may cause death.
The main reason to control the temperature is to make the child feel comfortable. The amount of fever to hurt the human brain is over 107.6 oF (42oC).
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
- Any child 4 weeks or younger
- Inability to control temperature
- Suspect the child is getting dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea
- Child breathing shallow, rapid or with difficulty
- Headache that would not go away
- Swelling of the mole of the head
- Sore or swollen joints
- Symptoms worsening
- Change in conscious level
These are seizures that occur with rapid rise in temperatures.
Place child on the side while also gently turning his head to the side so that vomit or saliva can drain easily. Do not put anything in his mouth while the seizure lasts. Simple febrile seizures do not cause brain damage
REMEMBER Not ALL fevers require ANTBIOTICS!!!!!!
INFECTION is only one and the most common reason for a fever.