Doctor’s everywhere are hounded by midnight calls by worried parents that their child has a fever that’s going up and down, not getting better and so on and so forth. Such is the love of parents that even that 1 F makes them queasy and turn restless in seconds. Picture this, you are on the first vacation in years and your 2 year old child starts to heat up. You know you deserve this long vacation break but what do you do? More likely than not, most parents rush to find a Doctor or a clinic regardless of the hour or not knowing the severity of the fever. Well to give all parents an answer, NOT all fevers even need medical attention! Wanna know more? Read on.
Fever – what is it and how it happens.
Before we get to the real meaty stuff, we need to understand how a fever works. The simplest way to understand this is to think of our body like a house and the fever control mechanism as a thermostat. When we get an infection(viral or bacterial or fungal or anything), our body sends out a response to the brain’s thermostat and says, “Hey, raise up the thermostat. We wanna cook up things in here.”
Why you say will the body do this? Well, the answer is simple. Heat helps to kill the invading agent. Every living organism has a lot of proteins and enzymes made of proteins and if you remember those boring high school lectures well, you would recollect that all proteins have an optimum temperature and going beyond makes them function not so great. Thus, the bacteria and the virus or any microbe begins to die. This is how and why the fever happens. If you want more info on this, you can ask your medical questions on askthedoctor.com
When your child’s fever is actually serious-
This section will not be as verbose as the previous one. This section just talks about what the fever threshold should be based on age.
Suppose your child is less than 6 months old, set the threshold at 100.4 F. Meaning that the second the child’s fever gets to 100.4 F, you need to see a Doctor. The big reason for this is that a newborn’s immunity is non-existent. And it relies on antibodies in the mother’s milk to get it’s supply. So, the newborn needs as much care as possible.
For children older than 6 months, you can set the threshold at 103 F. The older child can produce antibodies and also, weaning will start at 6 months so the baby may get fever due to toxins or microbes in food. This is normal in some cases and you should allow the child’s body to develop immunity rather than suppressing it with antibiotics at every sight of a Fahrenheit rise.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If your child get febrile seizures, you should work on reducing the temperature as soon as possible(The next section explains how to reduce body temperature). If the child has cough, cold and other symptoms, it may be best to see a Doctor or get medical help online.
Combat fever 101
Fevers are the simplest and the easiest symptoms to fight off. They are simply defined as a raised body temperature and you can check the temperature easily and repeatedly by simply using a thermometer.
Once you know that your child has a fever, the first thing you should do is to stay near your child. The physical presence is reassuring to the child and helps with the psychological aspect of fever control. Next, get some lukewarm water and begin sponging the child. DO NOT use cold water as this will make matters worse. Sponging regularly and diligently should bring down the temperature quickly.
If sponging is not working, then give your child a 1ml per kg of Calpol syrup in 2 to 3 divided doses in a day. If your child is 10 kg, then you can give him 2 doses of 5 ml each in one day. If this does not bring then fever down, then you can consult a Doctor online on askthedoctor.com
– Thermometer. Oral and Rectal
– Ear based thermometer
– Calpol Syrup (change this often to ensure the syrup has not expired)
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