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Caring for a Fever

Everything you need to know about FEVER….. as a Parent

What is a fever?

• Normal body temperature is 98.6°F,but children and infants can have a slightly higher normal temperature. Temperature over 100°F (37.8°C) represents fever. A fever is considered a ‘high fever’ when the temperature is above 104°F (40°C)
• Remember: Fever is beneficial to your child. It helps fight infections.

How should you measure your baby’s temperature?

There are 3 ways you can measure the temperature of your baby
• Mercury thermometer: Keep the thermometer snugly in your baby’s underarm for 1 minute, after wiping the area with a dry cloth. DO NOT add 1°F to the reading
• Fever Strip: Wipe the forehead of your baby with a dry cloth and apply the strip.
• Ear Thermometer: Place snugly in the ear and depress activation button for 1 second.

What causes a fever?

• Fever can be the result of too much clothing, overexertion or dehydration. It can also be a sign of infection or a reaction to certain immunizations
• Many high fevers are caused by infections that are not serious .If your child is alert and active and playing— don’t worry.

Is there any permanent damage when a child runs a very high fever and has convulsions?

• Febrile convulsions are common.2 % to 4 % of all children have one or more episodes by the age of seven.
• They are not associated with damage to the nervous system.
• Children ‘outgrow’ febrile convulsions by the age of 5 – 7 years.

What should you do when your child has a fever?

• Encourage your child to drink extra fluids like coconut water, apple juice, weak tea with sugar, etc. Body fluids are lost during fevers because of sweating.
• Clothing should be kept to a minimum because most heat is lost through the skin. Do not bundle up your child.
• Medication: Give the correct dosage for your child’s age. Repeated dosages of the drugs may be necessary. Discuss the medication with your child’s pediatrician in advance during a visit to his clinic.
• Sponging : Sponge immediately in heat stroke, febrile convulsions and fever over 105°F
Sponging can help if fever is very high in spite of medications
Sponge your child with lukewarm water. Do not use ice/ ice water for sponging.
Sit your child in 2 inches of water and keep wetting the skin surface.
If your child shivers, stop sponging temporarily.

A thermometer comes in handy to check your child's temperature

A thermometer comes in handy to check your child’s temperature

When should you call your doctor?

• Fever present more than 48 hours.
• Fever over 104°F (40° C) which does not subside or returns after medication.
• Fever plus earache or other localized pain ( i.e. abdomen )
• Fever plus urinary symptoms (such as pain with urination or lack of urination).
• Fever plus persistent vomiting or diarrhea, especially in an infant.
• Fever plus stiff neck.
• If your child appears to be extremely sick, is upset and inconsolable, cries when touched or moved or is difficult to wake up the child.
• Fever in an infant less than 3 months of age.
• When in doubt about whether to call, go ahead and call.

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