When should you worry about your child’s fever ?
Dr Paula Goel , Pediatrician & Adolescent physician , Fayth Clinic
Fever occurs when your body is fighting an infection , inflammation, overdressing a child and also after immunization . It’s a common occurrence and children get fever from time to time , however if the fever is very high and is associated with complications , then it is worrisome. Generally the body is set at temperature of around 98.6°F/37°C. Minor variations in body temperature may occur during the day and is absolutely normal
When Is a Fever a Sign of Something Serious?
In healthy kids, fever will subside unless there is associated problems . High fever may cause dehydration . When temperature is lower than 102°F (38.9°C) medicine may not be required unless the child is very uncomfortable .
When to visit your doctor :
- an infant 3 months or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, it is essential to meet your doctor Even a slight fever can be a sign of a potentially serious infection in very young babies.
- If your child is between 3 months – 3 years old and has a fever of 102.2°F (39°C) or higherit is necessary to go to your doctor .
- For older kids, take behavior and activity level should be taken into account. Watching how your child behaves will give you a pretty good idea of whether a minor illness is the cause or if your child should be seen by a doctor.
Sick little girl covered in blanket is lying on couch while her father is taking her temperature
The illness is probably not serious if your child:
- is still interested in playing
- is eating and drinking well
- is alert and smiling at you
- has a normal skin color
- looks well when his or her temperature comes down
Confirmation of fever is important by Using a reliable digital thermometer . It’s a fever when a child’s temperature is at or above one of these levels:
- measured orally(in the mouth): 100°F (37.8°C)
- measured rectally(in the bottom): 100.4°F (38°C)
- measured in an axillaryposition (under the arm): 99°F (37.2°C)
Fevers can rise and fall, a child might have chills as the body’s temperature begins to rise. The child may sweat to release extra heat as the temperature starts to drop.
Sometimes kids with a fever have rapid breathing than usual and may have a faster heart rate.
When Should I worry about the fever ? The exact temperature that should trigger a call to the doctor depends on a child’s age, the illness, and whether there are other symptoms with the fever.
- infant younger than 3 months old with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
- older child with a temperature of higher than 102.2°F (39°C)
- If your child refuses fluids or seems too ill to drink adequately
- has lasting diarrheaor repeated vomiting
- has any signs of dehydration and is lethargic
- has a specific complaint (like a sore throator earache)
- still has a fever after 24 hours (in kids younger than 2 years old) or 72 hours (in kids 2 years or older)
- has a chronic medical problem, such as heart disease, cancer
- has a rash with fever
- has pain while passing urine
- Wont stop crying and is very irritable
- sluggishness and trouble waking up
- a rash or purple spots that look like bruises on the skin (that were not there before your child got sick)
- blue lips, tongue, or nails
- infant’s soft spot on the head seems to be bulging out or sunken in
- stiff neck
- severe headache
- limpness or refusal to move
- trouble breathing that doesn’t get better when the nose is cleared
- leaning forward and drooling
- moderate to severe belly pain
All children with fever, comes back to normal within a few days. For older babies and kids, the way they act can be more important than the reading on your thermometer. Everyone gets a little cranky when they have a fever. This is normal and should be expected. However , if you are doubtful about what to do , it is essential to call your doctor for advice .
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