Fever is the most common concern prompting parents to bring their child to the emergency department or urgent care.
Fever is not an illness per se but a sign that the body is trying to fight an underlying foreign attack on the human body. As the body encounters a foreign invasion, its defense mechanism enables the various infection-fighting cells to ward off any impending illness.
A rise in the body temperature above the average of 100.4°F (38°C) measured rectally is termed as fever.
A fever itself is not life-threatening unless it is extremely and persistently high. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about, as a fever is usually a normal response of a child’s immune system to a viral or bacterial infection. Most healthy children can tolerate a fever well enough.
Some common reasons that cause fever in children are:
Aside from the rise in the average body temperature, fever in children can show up on their faces.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends measuring the rectal temperature to accurately determine the body temperature in children aged 4 years and below.
Range of Normal Temperature for a Child
The following are normal temperature levels according to the method chosen:
|Body part||Range of normal temperature|
|Rectum||36.6 ˚C to 38.4 ˚C (97.9 ˚F to 101.1 ˚F)|
|Mouth||35.5 ˚C to 37.9 ˚C (95.9 ˚F to 100.2 ˚F)|
|Ear||35.8 ˚C to 38.0 ˚C (96.4 ˚F to 100.4 ˚F)|
|Armpit||34.7 ˚C to 37.4 ˚C (94.5 ˚F to 99.3 ˚F)|
You can use this chart as a reference to determine whether your child’s temperature is normal so you can follow a course of action accordingly.
The treatment for fever in children includes bringing down the temperature of the child’s body to ease the discomfort.
Although fevers are not usually a cause for serious concern, seeing your child suffer can be heartbreaking. However, when children have a fever, they do not always need to be given medication to lower their temperature.
You can manage your child’s fever by following these natural remedies.
Cooling the body from the outside is very effective in reducing body temperature.
When your child develops a fever, the first thing to do is to give your child a lukewarm bath. A lukewarm bath will help regulate body temperature. It will also help your child relax, sleep better, and recover fast.
However, avoid a cold bath, as it can shock the body into trying to raise the internal thermostat even more.
A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Applied Research reports that immersing the body or part of the body in a water bath stimulates circulation and reduces body temperature.
For children suffering from a fever, it is vital to increase their fluid intake. Fluids will help cool them down and replace the fluid lost through sweating. This will also prevent dehydration, which may lead to various other complications and delay recovery.
This remedy is also helpful for dengue fever. A 2017 study published in PLOS One reports that improved oral fluid intake in patients with suspected dengue fever reduced hospitalization and intravenous fluid requirements.
Because of the fever and associated discomfort, children may refuse large amounts of fluid at a time. So, give them smaller amounts frequently.
Irrespective of whether a child or an adult is suffering from a fever, adequate rest and sleep is a must.
When your child rests, his body can dedicate his energy to healing rather than distributing for other activities.
Also, through sleep, the body will have the energy and time it needs to fight the causative agents. So, it becomes essential to make your child rest or relax as much as possible.
If your child is reluctant to sleep or cannot sit in one place for a long time, pick activities that restrict his movement such as coloring, solving puzzles, or playing with a favorite toy.
You can also switch on the television and play your child’s favorite movie or videos.
When your child has a fever, you need to keep him in a cool place. The temperature of the room should not be too hot or too cold. Try to keep your child’s room at a comfortable temperature between 70°F and 74°F (between 21.1 °C and 23.3 °C).
Additionally, dress your child in light clothing and have him sleep with only a sheet or light blanket. Bundling up your sick child with layers of clothes or extra blankets will keep the temperature from going down or even make it go higher.
An excellent way to treat a low fever is to use ginger.
Ginger helps the body expel heat, which in turn helps reduce the temperature. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties make it effective against any kind of infection. Plus, it boosts the immune system, aiding in the recovery process.
A herb for all reasons, basil is useful in bringing down fever in children.
It has antibiotic and antibacterial properties that can help get rid of the bacteria that may be causing the fever. Moreover, it boosts the immune system, which is vital for the healing process. Basil leaves can help reduce the heat in the body as well.
Feeding your child high-nutrition foods at regular intervals is a must to help him recover from the illness.
As the body becomes weak from the fever, it is important to follow a special diet to provide proper nutrition. A good diet will also help balance the body’s fluids and electrolytes and boost the immune system.
The diet recommended for your child is a high-calorie, high-protein, low-fat, and high-fluid diet.
Due to a loss of appetite, do not expect your child to eat the right amount. Feed your child every 2 hours initially, and as they feel better, you may reduce the frequency to once every four hours.
Some children can be frequently down with an episode of fever. This might be due to an underlying disease that must be reviewed by a pediatrician, such as:
Fever can affect the overall health of your child and cause complications including:
A seizure lasting for more than 5 minutes calls for emergency care. Call 911 immediately.
It is essential to get a medical review in case of a fever lasting for longer than 3 days or in a child under 2 months to avoid any severe consequences on the health of your child.
Check in with your child’s doctor if your child:
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