Fever is among the most common and devastating symptoms of child health issues.
During such trying moments, as a parent, you might not be sure what to do, about the cause, or when to seek a medical practitioner's intervention.
Fever in children and infants is common and, most of the time, not a cause for concern. Usually, it can be brought down with the use of over-the-counter fever remedies.
However, before treating your child's fever with any OTC medication, it's essential to seek advice from a doctor to avoid exacerbating the issue.
If you're a worried parent or guardian, and want to understand more about child temperature and fever, continue reading this article.
What's Considered Fever, Scientifically Speaking?
Fever is a temperature that surpasses 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The average body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nevertheless, body temperatures vary from time to time, depending on the activity, weather, and age.
Also, a newborn's temperature can be normal even at 37.5 degrees Celsius. With that in mind, a baby's temperature shouldn’t be a cause for alarm so long as it doesn’t exceed the 38 degrees Celsius mark.
How To Correctly Take A Child's Temperature
As a parent or guardian, it's crucial to understand how to properly take your child's temperature.
Taking a rectal temperature is the most accurate way of determining the actual temperature for babies under one year. Here, you take a digital thermometer, lubricate it with petroleum jelly, and insert it in your child's rectum, about half an inch.
Hold it in place for a minute, remove it, and study the temperature.
On the one hand, for children over a year old, taking their temperature using an oral and tympanic or digital ear thermometer is advised.
When To Worry About A Child's Fever
Understanding when to worry about your child's fever is essential.
In case of the following symptoms, take your child to the nearest health facility as soon as possible:
- Fever In An Infant That’s Less Than Three Months Old
Fever is the first response to severe health conditions in infants. Low temperatures are also quite concerning among newborns. Once your baby develops a fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius or if their temperature drops below 36.5 degrees Celsius, seek professional help to determine and treat the cause.
- The Fever Lasts For Over Five Days
A fever that lasts for less than five days is normal in children. However, if the fever goes beyond that period, there might be a serious underlying health condition that requires urgent treatment.
- Your Child Is Sickly
It's common for a child with a fever not to be active. However, you should call your pediatrician for further advice if they aren't feeding well, refuse to take enough fluids, or are always asleep.
- Temperature Hits 40 Degrees Celsius
As stated, a child's temperature shouldn't go beyond 38 degrees Celsius. Once it's over 40 degrees, that's an emergency case that requires immediate intervention.
- The Fever Won't Go Down
If you try to bring down the fever with fever remedies and it won't go down, the cause should be determined immediately.
Causes Of Fever In Children
Once your child develops a fever, it's a clear sign that their body is functioning well and fighting something that’s threatening their health.
Generally, high fever can be referred to as the body using chemical reactions to increase the temperature to prevent harmful bacteria and viruses from multiplying.
Bacteria and viruses thrive in conducive environments under suitable temperatures; high temperatures, on the one hand, make the body an inhabitable place for these organisms.
According to scientists, viruses are the leading cause of fever in children and infants. A child might experience more than ten viral infections accompanied by fever every year.
These cases are even common in children attending daycare or preschool since viruses are easily and quickly spread in crowded places. Bacteria hold the second position when it comes to fever causes.
Pediatricians don't worry much about fever in children attending preschools and daycares, unless the fever lasts for more than four days and is accompanied by symptoms such as persistent sore throat, too much coughing, or pain when urinating.
However, fever in infants should be concerning since their immune system is still developing, and they can quickly develop a nasty infection.
Every child will experience fever at some point in their life. The fever might result from a serious underlying health issue that requires urgent treatment.
However, some fevers improve with fever remedies, especially if they aren't a sign of severe health issues.
Nevertheless, regardless of what you think might be causing the fever, it's important to seek your doctor's intervention to determine the actual cause and appropriate treatment.