Posted on 2015-03-05 06:28:40

FEVERS IN CHILDREN A rise in body temperature or fever can be a cause of worry to many parents. However, it is important to understand that a fever is a normal reaction to an infection and not an illness itself. Often, a fever signifies that the body is working to fight off infections. For infants and young children, a slight increase in temperature above normal can be a sign of a severe infection. However, the degree of fever may not necessarily show the severity of the underlying illness. A serious condition can cause a low fever, and a minor condition can cause a high fever. Fever in children can be caused by bacteria or viral infections such as cold, chickenpox, and respiratory tract infections (RTIs). In addition, immunizations like pneumococcal vaccines or the process of teething can also cause an increase in temperature in a child. According to Hanna Mwangi, a pediatric nurse, the most obvious sign of fever is when the temperature of a child rises above the normal range (37°C). Depending on the cause of the fever, there may be other signs and symptoms which may include dehydration, lethargy, aches in the muscles, poor feeding, and sweating, shivering and general body weakness An unexplained fever can be a reason for concern in young children and infants than in adults. Seek medical attention immediately if the baby’s fever is at 38.3 degrees Celsius or higher. Other factors that may cause a reason for taking a child to a doctor may include, baby’s refusal to eat or drink, breathing difficulties, the baby is less than three months old, the child appears to be in pain, presence of a rash, fever is accompanied by unexplained irritability, for example crying when moved or if the baby has a fever and appears to be unresponsive and lethargic. Presence of these signs in an infant or a child younger than two years may indicate a serious illness. If a child vomits repeatedly, is irritable, or has serious stomachache or headache, or any other uncomfortable symptoms, take him or her doctor right away for treatment. Additionally, if a child has a fever that lasts for more than 24 hours needs medical attention. According to Hanna, there are a number of things that you can do to help your child stay comfortable during a fever: Dress the child in light clothes and keep him or her in a cool environment. Give the child plenty of drinks in form of diluted fruit juices or plain water as fever can cause dehydration and loss of fluids. If the baby is below 6 months, give him or her more breastfeeds. Ensure that the child gets enough rest to facilitate recovery as activities can raise the body temperatures. Give the child a painkiller like paracetamol or ibuprofen to help bring down the fever. Give the dosage as instructed on the packaging or consult a doctor. If the child’s fever still does not subside, do not give any more medication and instead see a doctor. High fevers of between 39.4 degrees Celsius and 41.1 degrees Celsius can cause irritability, confusion, hallucinations, severe dehydration, and febrile seizure (fever-induced seizure). In case a child suffers a febrile seizure: It is important to remain as calm as possible. Lay the child on his or her stomach or side on the ground or floor. Secure the child and take away any sharp objects that may be near the child. Loosen all the tight clothing. Do not put anything (including medicine) in the child’s mouth or try to stop the seizure. Stay with the child and take note of the length of seizures so that you can explain to the doctor. Most seizures stop on their own. However, take the child to the doctor as soon as the seizure stops to determine the cause of the fever. By Rebecca Muthonihttp: http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/Living/This-is-what-to-do-when-your-child-gets-a-fever/-/1218/2641178/-/r70o92/-/index.html