Fever in Children

Table of Contents

What is Fever in Children?

Fever in children is a condition when a child’s body temperature exceeds normal limits —  usually 37° C. The hypothalamus will send signals to the child’s body to maintain the body temperature at that level. 

Sometimes, the hypothalamus raises the body temperature in response to infection, disease, or other causes. According to KidsHealth, researchers believe that increased body temperature is a child’s body’s way of fighting germs that cause infection.

Most people have a body temperature that changes throughout the day. It is usually a little lower in the morning and a little higher in the evening. This can vary depending on activity, such as when children are playing, running, or playing sports.

Children can get a fever from time to time and it is usually harmless. Often, a fever is a sign that a child’s body is fighting an infection. But when the child wakes up in the middle of the night with a red, hot, and sweaty face, you should consult a pediatrician to get the appropriate treatment.

Causes of Fever in Children

When the hypothalamus raises the body temperature, your child may feel cold and shiver to generate more heat. This is what causes body temperature to rise up. Fever can be caused by several factors, such as: 

  • Infections

In general, fever is usually caused by infection or other disease. Fever helps your child’s body fight infection by stimulating natural defenses.

  • Immunization

Infants and children sometimes develop a low fever after being vaccinated. 

  • Layers of clothing

Infants, especially newborns, can be exposed to a fever under a hot environment. This is because they have not been able to regulate their own body temperature. Fever in newborns can indicate a serious infection. Therefore, infants who have a fever due to wearing layers of clothes should be examined for further diagnosis.

In addition, fever in children can also be caused by:

  • Malignant tumor.
  • Heat exhaustion.
  • Viral or bacterial infection.
  • Inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or joint inflammation.
  • Medications, such as antibiotics and medications for high blood pressure or seizures.

When to See a Doctor for Fever in Children

To diagnose fever in children, your child’s pediatrician may ask questions about the symptoms and medical history. Followed by a physical examination. A number of other tests may also be performed,  such as blood tests and chest x-rays.

Since a fever indicates a serious illness in an infant, particularly a newborn, your baby may need to be hospitalized.

Symptoms of Fever in Children

A gentle kiss on your child’s forehead or hand placed lightly on their skin is often enough to give you a signal that your child has a fever. However, you still have to measure your child’s body temperature using a thermometer for a more accurate result. 

You can use a digital thermometer to confirm whether or not your child has a fever. Be alert if your child’s body temperature is at or above any of the following temperature levels:

  • Measured in their mouth at ≥ 37.8 ° C.
  • Measured under their armpit ≥ 37.2 ° C.
  • Measured rectally (anus) ≥ 38 ° C.

Depending on the cause, the symptoms of fever in children may include:

  • Dehydration.
  • Muscle pain
  • Shivering.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sweating.
  • Headache.
  • Easily irritated
  • Not sleeping well.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Lack of interest in playing
  • Less active and looks tired
  • Children of 6 months to 5 years of age may have seizures when they have a fever.

Treatment for Fever in Children

Not all fevers need treatment. Most cases of fever should be treated only if they cause extreme discomfort. Below are some ways to treat fever in children: 

Medications

If your child becomes fussy, you can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as recommended by the doctor. You should never give aspirin to children, as it is associated with Reye’s syndrome.

Reye’s syndrome is a rare disorder that can cause fatal damage to the liver and brain. If not treated immediately, this rare disease risks causing permanent brain injury or death.

If you do not know the appropriate dosage for a child younger than 2 years, talk to your child’s pediatrician to find out the recommended dose should be given. 

Infants younger than 2 months should not be given fever medicine without being examined by a doctor first. If your child has certain health problems, do not hesitate to ask your doctor about what type of medications is best for your child. 

Keep in mind that fever medications can temporarily lower the temperature, but it usually will not return to normal and treat the main cause of fever.

Hospital Care 

Infants, particularly, those younger than 28 days, will most likely need to be hospitalized for further evaluation and treatment. This is because a fever in a newborn may indicate a serious infection that requires intravenous (IV) and professional monitoring at all times.

Treatment Cost for Fever in Children

Treatment cost for fever in children depends on numerous factors, including the type of treatment recommended by the doctor, other required tests, inpatient care’s fees, and the policy at the hospital of your choice.

For more details regarding the treatment cost for fever in children at home or abroad, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Fever in Children

You can prevent fever in children by avoiding exposure to infectious diseases. Below are some tips for preventing fever in children: 

  • Teach your children how to wash their hands properly 
  • Set up a routine of washing hands with soap, especially before eating, after using the toilet, after touching animals, after travelling on public transportation, and after going out to crowded places or being around sick people.
  • Bring hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers come in handy when soap and water are not available 
  • Try to keep your child from touching the nose, mouth or eyes, to prevent transmission of viruses and bacteria that can enter their system and cause infection.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze, and teach your child to do the same. Stay away from other people when they are coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading germs.
  • Avoid sharing the same glasses and eating utensils with your child.

Home Remedies for Fever in Children

In most cases, the fever may disappear in a few days. It is normal for your child to become a little fussy when they have a fever

If your newborn has a fever, contact your choice of pediatrician immediately. However, for older infants, you can try the following tips:

  • Bathe your child with warm water.
  • Dress your child in thin clothes
  • Consume medications as recommended by your doctor regularly.
  • Meet your child’s body fluids needs to avoid dehydration. These fluids include breast milk, formula, electrolyte solutions, or mineral water. To find out the baby’s condition, check their diapers, as normal dehydrated baby diapers are not wet. Other symptoms of dehydrated infants may include tears, no tears when crying and dry mouth.

If your child’s fever starts to worry you, contact Smarter Health to make an appointment with a pediatrician.

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