A sudden change of your child’s mood may prompt you to check the body temperature. If it is high, the first thing that may come to your mind is fever. A fever results when the immune system, apparently in response to an invasion of bacteria or viruses, produces
substances in the blood called pyrogens. This causes the body to reset to a higher temperature. While fever can cause discomfort and dehydration, it is not necessarily as bad thing. In fact, fevers seem to play a key role in helping the body throw off bacterial and viral infections, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and research. The virus that cause colds and other respiratory infections like cool temperatures. By producing low grade fever your body may actually be helping eliminate the virus. Interestingly, one hospital in Mexico even treats certain conditions by elevating the body’s temperature, a treatment called hyperthermia. Fever itself is rarely a problem. However, it is a sign that infection may be present. Therefore, how can you assist your child? Some medical experts give these tips for handling a mild fever:
1. Keep your child’s room comfortably cool.
2. Dress the child lightly since overheating can aggravate the fever.
3. Encourage the child to take in extra fluids, such as water, diluted fruit juices, and soup, because fever can lead to dehydration.
4. Drinks containing caffeine, such as colas or black tea, are diuretic and might cause further dehydration.
5. Infants should continue to be breast-fed.
6. Avoid foods difficult to digest, as a fever decreases stomach activity.
7. If the body temperature goes higher than 38.9 degree Celsius, an over-the-counter fever reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, is often given. The dosage on the label must be followed. Note though, children under two years of age should not be given any medication without the advice of a doctor.
8. A sponge bath can also reduce a fever. Sit the child in a tub of a few centimeters of lukewarm water, and sponge him/her off. Do not use rubbing alcohol, as it can be toxic.
9. Call or see a doctor if a feverish child:-
i) Is three month of age or younger and has a rectal temperature of 38degrees Celsius or higher.
ii) Is between three and six months of age and has a temperature of 38.3 degrees Celsius or higher.
iii) Is older than six month and has a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius or higher.
iv) Refuses liquids and shows signs of dehydration.
v) Has a seizure or is extremely listless.
vi) Is still feverish after 72 hours.
vii) Cries inconsolably or show sign of confusion or delirium.
viii) Has a rash, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, or repeated vomiting.
ix) Has a stiff neck or sudden severe headache.
(Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics)
Of course, prevention is the best medicine. Children should be taught to wash their hands often—especially before eating, after using the toilet, after spending time in a crowded public place, or after petting animals.