Fever in small children can cause a lot of tension to the parents. However, it need not always be serious issue. This article will tell you when to worry about a child’s fever and guide you with the necessary course of action.
The condition in which a person’s body temperature increases is called fever. Although people of all ages can have it, children are observed to have it very frequently, because they have a weak immune system. Fever is the body’s natural way of fighting an infection, and hence, it is actually important. However, most parents start panicking even when the child’s body indicates a slight rise in temperature. Though it is important to take this matter seriously, parents need not worry every time their child’s body temperature increases. This article will give you an idea as to when to worry about a child’s fever, and when you should pay extra attention and take action.
Fever Without Symptoms
A mistake that most parents make when their children have fever, is that they start treating the child according to the temperature shown by the thermometer. However, experts are of the opinion, more than the temperature, it is the child’s behavior that the parents should take a note of. For instance, even if the child has high temperature, but he does not behave as if he is ill, then, there is actually nothing to worry about. Sometimes, all the child has is high temperature, without any other symptoms, and he remains active just as he normally is.
In such situations, parents need not worry, they just need to try some simple remedies to keep the kid comfortable. He/She should be given comfortable clothes to wear, but do not try to wrap him/her in too much warm clothing. Apart from this, make sure that the child drinks lots of clear fluids to avoid dehydration. However, this is restricted only to older children. In other words, if your child is less than three months old, even a slight rise in temperature should be reported to the doctor. Even if your little baby is fine and is not showing any other symptoms, apart from fever, the doctor has to check him thoroughly, to know what is the root cause of the problem.
As I said earlier, most children have this problem when their immune system is threatened by some kind of viral infection. Hence, parents must understand that fever itself is not a disease, but is actually a symptom, which is caused by an underlying disease. The normal temperature of the human body is 98.6°F, and when the temperature raises above this, the child is said to have fever. Although there is nothing serious when the kid has low-grade fever, i.e., 99-100°F, when the temperature is more than this, parents should take it seriously. If your kid shows other symptoms, like cold, cough, headache, irritability, or tiredness, the cause can be some kind of viral infection and should be taken seriously.
When to Call the Doctor?
If your kid continues to have a high temperature without any symptoms for a week, it is time that you call your doctor. Apart from this, if you observe that your kid suffering from problems, like sleepiness, stiff neck, unusual rash, breathing problems, convulsions, etc., it would be better to call your doctor immediately. The doctor will ask you about the symptoms that your kid exhibits, and according to them, he will either prescribe certain medications or may ask you to bring your child to the hospital.
When to Go to Hospital?
High fever in small children can be caused due to variety of reasons like viral or bacterial infection, meningitis, inflammatory disorders, blood disorders, etc. Hence, it is important for parents to know when exactly should they take their child to the hospital. Some of the symptoms that may indicate serious problems include pale blotchy skin, drowsiness, rapid breathing, severe muscle pain, vomiting, refusing food, diarrhea, stomach cramps, confusion, pain, etc. If your child has any of these problems, it is best to rush your child to the emergency room as soon as possible. The doctor may conduct certain tests, before starting the treatment process.
If your child has low-grade fever, you can actually give him an over-the-counter pill that you trust to lower his/her body temperature. However, this should not be done, if your child is less than three years of age, without the knowledge of your doctor.
Disclaimer: This AptParenting article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.