Fever in Kids

Every parent has those heartbreaking episodes of staying up until dawn, taking care of their little ones, while they languish in fever. Fevers can be a terrifying thing for parents, whether you are first-time moms and dads or you have been through your fair shares of fever. Every child will inevitably experience a fever, no matter how careful the parents are. Fever is when the body's inner "thermostat" boosts the body temperature above its usual level(98.6°F/37°). During fever, the internal thermostat, the hypothalamus resets the body to a higher temperature in response to contamination or illness, as it is the body's way of combating the germs that cause infections and presenting the body as a less suitable place for them. The temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above is officially termed as a fever.

Causes

Fevers are caused due to external infections or other illnesses, as the higher temperature makes it more uncomfortable for the bacteria and viruses that cause infections to survive. Some of the common causes of fever are:

  • Flu

  • Respiratory tract infections (RTIs)

  • Ear infections

  • Tonsillitis

  • Kidney or UTIs

  • Chickenpox or whooping cough

  • In response to vaccinations

  • Overheating due to excessive bedding or clothing in infants.

Call your doctor

Fever can be of different types. While some can be healed with just some soup and TLC, others might need the expertise of the doctor. If the child has a slight fever but is playing and eating well, alert and smiling and has normal skin color, the illness might not be too serious. Some of the situation where you might want to contact your doctor are:

  • If the baby is under three months old and has a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above

  • If the baby is between three and six months old and has a temperature of 39C (102.2F) or above

  • If the baby still has a fever after 24 hours (in kids younger than 2 years old) or 72 hours (in kids 2 years or older)

  • The child has pain while peeing

  • The child is showing signs of seriousness like limpness, refusal to move, trouble to breathe or drooling

  • The child now has a rash or purple spots that look like bruises on the skin

  • Extreme irritability or fussiness

  • Refusing to drink

  • Has diarrhea or vomiting

  • Signs of dehydration (peeing less)

  • Has a sore throat or an earache

  • Abdominal pain

Treatments

There are various little things which can help your little one recover from the bouts of fever. Some of them are:

  • Keep your child hydrated by providing sufficient cool water to drink. Babies should be fed enough liquids too, like breast milk or formula. Keeping the fluid levels up helps fight the fever.

  • Keep your child at a comfortable temperature. Keeping a lightweight cover or opening a window might be advisable.

  • Children's over the counter medications can help to diminish a fever, but they're not always required. If your child is going through the daily functioning well and doesn't seem distressed, there's no need to give them medicine.

Home Remedies

Tulsi: Tulsi is used in every Indian household for its antibacterial, antibiotic and germicidal properties. Applying tulsi on the chest and forehead of a child suffering from fever will help relieve the situation. For children older than 1-year-old, mix tulsi with honey and feed them.

Lemon: Lemon has antibacterial properties which can help a child suffering from fever. It is abundant in Vitamin C which helps in strengthening the immune system. Add ½ a tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of warm water. Let it simmer and soak a towel in it. Put the wrung towel over the child's feet, which will help to reduce a child’s fever.

Garlic: Garlic is packed with antibacterial and antiviral properties, and it helps combat any bacteria which might be causing fever and cold. Make a paste of garlic and coconut oil and apply it on your child’s foot and cover it with a bandage. Leaving this paste overnight will help bring the fever down.

Turmeric: Tumeric is an extremely useful herb in Ayurveda and can be used to treat a cough, cold and fever. A pinch of turmeric added to a glass of milk is something that most moms swear by and it known for providing desired results.

It breaks the parent's heart to see their kids feeling sick and miserable. However, fever can be unavoidable in most cases. Having a few bouts of fever in one's childhood is normal and good for one's immunity. However, fever can also act as a threshold for many other diseases and can peak dangerously in a matter of minutes. Hence, it is essential to keep a close eye on the child and get in touch with your doctor accordingly.

Reference

http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/fever-in-children-treatment
http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/fever.html
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/feverchildren/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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