Know the basics
What is fever in children?
Fever in children refers to a temporary increase in their body temperature, often due to an illness. It means that there is something that is going wrong in the child’s body. Therefore, fever in children is considered as a normal response to a variety of conditions, which infection is the most common. If your child’s temperature is higher than 38oC, your children is supposed to have a fever. For infants and toddlers, a slightly elevated temperature may indicate an infection.
How common is fever in children?
Fever in children is common. Nearly every child will develop a fever at some points. It can be managed by reducing the risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of fever in children?
The common signs and symptoms of fever in children are:
- Felling irritable, fussy, lethargic, quiet;
- Feeling warm or hot;
- Not feeding normally;
- Crying a lot;
- Breathe rapidly;
- Sleeping or eating habits changes;
- Having seizures;
- Feeling hotter or colder than others in the room who feel comfortable;
- Having body aches, headache;
- Sleeping more or having difficulty sleeping;
- Poor appetite.
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You should contact your doctor if your child has any of the following:
- The child is younger than 6 months of age (regardless of prematurity);
- The child is listless or irritable, vomits repeatedly, has a severe headache or stomachache, or has any other symptoms causing significant discomfort;
- Has a fever after being left in a hot car, lasts longer than three days;
- Has poor eye contact;
- The child has been to a doctor but the conditions is worse or new symptoms or signs have developed;
- One has serious concerns and is unable to contact the child’s doctor;
- A seizure occurs;
- The child has complex medical problems or takes prescription medications on a chronic basis.
Know the causes
What causes fever in children?
Children can have a fever caused by:
- Bacterial infections, such as scarlet fever, or rarely, rheumatic fever’ viral infections;
- Taking medications, illicit drugs;
- Illnesses related to heat exposure;
- Extreme sunburn;
- A malignant tumor;
- Some immunizations, such as diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine or pneumococcal vaccine.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for fever in children?
There are many risk factors for fever in children, such as:
- It is the fact that children are more likely contracting any disease and developing fever.
- Children can have a fever if they are in close contact with a person who is sick, which increases risk of catching the infection and fever.
- Children with weak immune system are at increased risk of developing any infection and fever.
- Food and water. Having contaminated food or water is one of the risks that leads to infection and fever.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is fever in children diagnosed?
To diagnose if your child has a fever, your doctor may ask you questions about your child’s symptoms and their medical history. In some cases, they can perform a physical exam to make sure the condition of your child. Besides, based on your child’s medical history and physical exam your doctor can require tests like blood tests or a chest X-ray if needed.
How is fever in children treated?
In fact, fever in children generally disappears within a few days, sometimes it’s better left untreated. However, if a doctor diagnoses a bacterial infection, they can give the child antibiotics. Urinary tract infections, ear infections, throat infections, sinus infections, skin infections, gastrointestinal infections, and pneumonia may be treated with antibiotics at home. The child may receive oral antibiotics, a shot, or both.
If your child is diagnosed to have bacterial meningitis, they are ask to be admitted to the hospital. Then, they can be given acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for fever.
Dehydration can occur during a fever in children. To deal with this, the child can receive oral fluids or intravenous (IV) fluids. If a child is vomiting, a drug to control nausea may be given by injection or by rectal suppository.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage fever in children?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with fever in children:
- A warm water bath. This can help the child feel comfortable. It should be used for no more than 10 minutes each hour;
- Keep the child from becoming dehydrated. It is believed that child loses extra water from the skin and lungs during a fever. You can help them avoid this by encouraging them to drink clear fluids but without caffeine or water. They can be chicken soup, Pedialyte, and other rehydrating drinks available at the grocery or drugstore.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Fever in children. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/fever_in_children/page5_em.htm. Accessed June 12, 2016.
Fever. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fever/basics/treatment/con-20019229. Accessed June 12, 2016.