10 Feb , Jyoti Tewari,Canada : Having a sick child can be alarming for any parent, and having a child with a fever can be all the more so. A fever occurs when your child’s body temperature increases above the normal temperature of approximately 37ºC, usually because their body is fighting off an illness.
If your child has a fever, he or she may be sweaty, have the shivers, or feel achy. In rare cases, fevers can cause seizures in young children, while high fevers can also cause confusion and hallucinations. Although in adults a fever is usually only serious when it rises above 39ºC, in infants and young children, even a slight rise in temperature could indicate something more serious.
Here’s how to tell whether you should seek medical advice:
For infants: If your baby is younger than 3 months old and has an armpit temperature of 37.4ºC or higher, call your doctor. In addition, seek medical advice if the child is 3 months to 3 years of age and has a temperature (taken in the armpit) of:
* 39.5ºC or higher
* 39ºC or higher that lasts for more than 4 to 6 hours
* 38º to 39ºC for more than 12 hours
* 37ºC to 38ºC for more than 24 to 48 hours
If the fever is coupled with unexplained irritability or unresponsiveness and lethargy, do not wait to get help. It could be a sign of meningitis, a life-threatening illness.
For children: Begin by checking your child’s temperature under the armpit. If it is 37.4ºC or higher, then your child has a fever. While fevers are worrisome, if your child is responsive and able to drink fluids, there may not be much cause for concern. However, if the fever is coupled with irritability, lethargy, vomiting, a severe headache or a stomachache, call your doctor.
Medical treatment for fevers usually depends on the cause. If your child’s fever is not serious, you can do things to help your child feel more comfortable. This includes dressing them in light, loose clothing and giving them a lukewarm sponge bath. Never give children Aspirin® because it can trigger a rare, potentially fatal disorder called Reye’s syndrome. Your doctor may also recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen.