Essential things to know about fever in children
Fever is one of the most common types of ailments, which is caused due to a temporary increase in the body’s temperature. The body temperature rises during the process when the immune system is fighting off an infection caused by a virus. Though fever is not a life-threatening ailment, it can be a cause for concern if a person falls ill too frequently, especially if it is an infant. To prevent the child from frequently falling ill, parents can take necessary preventive measures such as maintaining proper hygiene, getting the child vaccinated on time, and feeding the child safe food and water.
There are multiple causes of fever in children and some of them include bacterial infections, viral infections, illnesses due to heat exposure, allergies, and some rare conditions such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, even certain medications can also cause fever.
Fever is not an alarming health condition and is often cured within a few days. However, there are certain alarming situations, such as the following, that may arise during a bout of fever where parents must call a doctor immediately.
- The child has a red or purple rash anywhere in the body
- No or loss of appetite
- Pale appearance
- If the baby’s cry is high-pitched
- Ear ache
- Dry mouth
- Abnormal breathing
- The child is younger than 2 months and has fever
- A persistent headache
- Continuous vomiting
Body temperature in children and infants
It is important for parents to know the normal body temperature range of a child as people of different age groups have different normal body temperatures.
The average normal body temperature of a child is around 36.4°C; the child has a fever when the temperature reads around 38°C. Moreover, the average normal body temperature of an infant is around 37°C.
Measuring the child’s temperature
Body temperature can be measured in different areas of the body such as the mouth, armpits, ears, and rectum. Unless a child is older than three months, the most accurate place to measure the body temperature is the rectum. Parents can give their child oral medications if the child is older than three months. They can also use a digital thermometer for the most accurate temperature measurements. It is also important to keep different thermometers for different measurement methods (oral, rectal, etc.), and wash or sterilize the thermometer after every use.
Often, doctors recommend taking necessary precautions while measuring the temperature so as to avoid any accidents that may take place in case the thermometer is used incorrectly or mishandled. Therefore, parents need to be extra careful while using a thermometer and must first visit a doctor or a pediatrician and understand the procedure of using a thermometer to measure their child’s temperature.
Fever temperature chart
Often, doctors often ask the parents to maintain a fever temperature chart to understand the child’s health over a period of time. The fever temperature chart will help parents maintain a record of the difference in body temperature of their child.
Important preventive measures
To prevent the recurrence of fever, it is important for the parents to keep infections at bay. Apart from some preventive measures mentioned earlier, parents can also ensure that they keep the surroundings clean for the child, teach them good sanitary habits, encourage them to play sports and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and make them eat more nutritious foods.