A fever is often a symptom of many illnesses characterized by body temperatures that are higher than normal and accompanied by a cold feeling. A fever in itself is not a dangerous occurrence to be treated but the underlying cause, which is often an infection, needs to be treated to relieve the fever. If a child is otherwise normal, you don’t need to worry much about it. You should however monitor the child’s condition to determine if he is getting worse.
When to worry
- Age of the baby
The younger a child is, the more you need to worry if she has a fever. In infants, a fever is many times the only major symptom of illness so if a baby has a high fever, it should never be ignored. If your baby is below 3 month old and has temperature of 100.40F or more, you shouldn’t take it lightly; take her to a doctor so she can be examined. The same action applies to a child between 3 and 6 months who with a fever of 1020F or more, or a child over 6 months old that has a fever equal to or higher than 103oF.
- Duration of the fever
How long the child has had the fever is a major factor to consider when deciding on the action to take. A fever that lasts over 24 hours in a 3 to 12 month old baby, two or more days in a 1 or 2 year old child, or 3 days in a kid over two years old is cause for worry. Such a child needs to be taken to a doctor.
- Are there accompanying symptoms?
If you notice that aside from a fever, you child is presenting certain symptoms, you should take her to a doctor. Symptoms such as persistent diarrhea and vomiting, severe pain in the ear, headache, rashes, stiff neck, troubled breathing or signs of dehydration accompanied by a fever could indicate an underlying illness that needs to be treated. if the infant is going to day care you should let them know.
If the baby has a serious illness or has been recently immunized, you should call your doctor if she has a high fever.
Managing a fever at home
- If the child is aged over 6 months old you can give him/her ibuprofen but for younger ones, you can give her acetaminophen according to the dosage prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist.
- Don’t starve the fever. If the child is hungry, give her healthy food to eat. Food will give her more energy to fight off the infection.
- Give the child a lot of water since a fever can dehydrate her.
- Adequately dress the child according to the situation. A baby whose fever is going down may feel the need for less clothing while one who feels cold will need to be covered. Try not to overdress or under dress her.
- If the baby cannot keep medicine down due to repeated vomiting, use a lukewarm compress. Dribble tepid water on the baby’s arms, trunk, and legs using a washcloth to help to lower her core body temperature.
- You could also put a washcloth in cool water and place it when damp on the baby’s forehead as she rests. Also ensure that the room is cool and comfortable.
Articles on this blog should not be considered as a medical advice, its for general information only. For more accurate advice please contact your pediatrician.