What to do When Your Child has a Fever

feverFever is characterized by an elevation in the body temperature of the body. It is one of the most common medical signs for various diseases. The body’s normal temperature or normothermia is 37?C (98.6 ?F). For adults, any temperature below 39.4?C (103?F) is no reason to worry. But for infants and young children, especially newborn, even a marginal increase in body temperature may connote a serious illness. This is due to their immature immune system.

There are many causes for a baby’s fever, such as dehydration, over-bundled with clothes, but it is generally caused by an infection. Before giving any medications to a hot child, check their temperatures. Most modern thermometers have digital readouts. Using a digital thermometer, the temperature may be taken when inserted in the ear canal, which can be useful for taking temperatures in children and elders. Before using a thermometer, read the manual to understand what the beep sounds means. It is advised to not use glass mercury thermometers due to potential for mercury exposure or even ingestion. There are different ways to take the temperature aside from the inserting in the ear canal, which include rectally (for infants), orally and axillary (underarms).

To take a child’s temperature rectally, put a dab of any lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, on the bulb of the thermometer. Lay the child with stomach facing down. Gently insert the bulb half inch to an inch into the rectum. Don’t leave the thermometer unattended and keep the child still for about one minute or until the beep is heard. Remove the thermometer and read the temperature. Ordinarily, rectal temperatures give off a higher temperature by 0.5?C (1?F).

To check the temperature by mouth (oral), position the thermometer bulb under the tongue. Keep the mouth closed for approximately one minute or until the beep sounds is heard.

Taking the reading under the arm is not always the most accurate way to check temperature, although the oral thermometers may be inserted in the underarms. With the arm down, position the thermometer under the arm. Hold the arms across the chest. Keep the thermometer in position for one minute or until the beeping sounds is heard. Ordinarily, axillary readings are lower by 0.5?C (1?F).

If fever is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, call for a doctor immediately. These symptoms include: unusual skin rash, persistent vomiting, sore throat, severe headache, stiff neck, difficulty breathing or chest pain, abdominal pain or pain when urinating, mental confusion and other unexplainable symptoms. Moreover, if the baby is below six months of age or has not yet been immunized, medical attention should be given as soon as possible. Giving sponge baths or bathing the child in lukewarm water may help bring down the fever. Do not use ice baths, cold water, or alcohol. To treat a child with fever, give him/ her milk or water to ensure the baby’s hydrated. Do not add extra layers of clothes. Do not give medicine unless prescribed by the doctor.

workplace approved programs offer standard and emergency childcare first aid for parents, daycare center owners and any non-medical person in the community who may want to learn first aid and CPR for children.  It is highly recommended for individuals to take the aforementioned classes because articles cannot be substituted for actual training.

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