Fever in toddlers. What does fever even mean?

Fever in toddlers. What does fever even mean?
August 11 12:55 2016

When it comes to fever in toddlers, there is no permanent solution and no child is completely exempted. It is almost guaranteed that every child will have a fever at one point or the other. Therefore every parent should be equipped with the adequate knowledge and tips to managing a child that develops a fever. The knowledge shared in this article is particularly very important for new mothers as they are usually scared shitless when their little one wakes them up in the middle of the night and they notice he is running a temperature.

You will learn here a few things you should know and do before you start dialing for doctor at 2 in the morning.

What does fever even mean?

How do I know my child has a fever?

Before we go on, let us take a minute to explain the meaning of fever in very simple terms. Many people might think this is quite straightforward and everyone ought to know what fever means. However experience has shown me that this is far from the truth. Take for example, your baby start crying at 2 am and you discover she is running a bit of temperature. You then test with a thermometer and you discovered that her temperature is in fact exactly 101 Fahrenheit. That’s got to be fever right? especially since she was fine a few hours ago. What do you do? You probably would be dialing your pediatrician’s number right that minute. What if I tell you that that may really not be a fever and you probably should just breathe calmly and relax?

I understand it would be pretty difficult for any parent to not get worked up when their toddler develops high temperature in the middle of the night or even during the day. Thoughts of H1N1 influenza may even come to mind sending you straight to panic mode. I mean with everything that happens in the news nowadays, it is hard not to be worried, isn’t it? Statistics show that about 30% of visits to pediatrics acute-care are related to fever and sadly, many of these visits are avoidable with a little knowledge on the part of the parent. A little knowledge that would have saved all parties involved significant amount of stress and time. I mean most parents would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to fevers. However despite the general phobia to fever in toddlers, the vast majority of the time, reported fever cases are nothing serious.

The science behind fever is simple. Fever is most frequently caused due to the activities of your child’s immune system in fighting against infections like cold. When the body’s temperature rises, the white blood cells begin to attack and destroy any bacteria or virus in the body. Thus fever at the very least is indicative that the toddler’s immune system is working as it should. It is then important to know that the rise in temperature does not necessary affect the child negatively. Your kid should be able to withstand temperature up to 106 Fahrenheit without any complications depending on the age. Although it is unlikely that the temperature would get that high, it is good to have it at the back of your mind that your child most likely can handle nominal increases in temperature as a result of immune system activities every once in a while.


What Should I Do If My Toddler Develops A High Temperature?

Now that you know what is upper limit is (106F), it is time to talk about what to do when your toddler’s temperature begins to rise, even before it gets to 106F (again, please note that this is not very likely).

There are a number of things that can be done when a child develops a fever. The appropriate response however depends on your child’s age and how much temperature your child has developed.

For an infant of less than 3 months old, a temperature above 100.4F should be referred to a doctor. This is because the child is still at an age where her immune system is still developing thus the child would require more help fighting infections like pneumonia and meningitis.

From 3 to 6 months old, any fever above 101F should be checked out by a pediatrician. This is obviously because the baby’s immune system is expected to be a bit more developed than that of a baby less than 3 months old.

For children above 6 months however, you can afford to wait till his temperature has reached 103F before making that urgent call to the pediatrician. Although you should call at 102F if there are other symptoms like cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches, body aches, chills or diarrhea. Those are regular symptoms H1N1 flu so you should be mindful. Any fever followed by these symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately.

In conclusion, while you need to factor in the age of your child to determine how much temperature their immune system can handle, you also have to bear in mind that fever is just one of the symptoms that a child can have. Therefore you have to watch out so you would quickly identify any other symptoms your child might have. These other symptoms are sometimes more telling than the fever and would largely inform the right decision to make.

Another thing to be considered is the general health status of your child. This should be obvious as some kids are considered high risk. These are kids under age 5 who suffer from one or two chronic medical condition like asthma or diabetes. Clearly, you need to pay more attention if such a child starts running temperature, you might want to take her for a flu test immediately because she might need a fever reducer urgently. In most cases however, if your child is generally healthy, he would only need to stay home for a day or two to rest out the fever.



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