Parenting changes through the generations, often in conjunction with new scientific evidence. One of these areas lies in how to treat a fever in children. How do you know if a high fever is a matter for a trip to a pediatric urgent care center? Here is a look at the basic guidelines to follow.
How Do You Take A Temperature?
You can use a simple, inexpensive mercury thermometer, either one made for oral or rectal purposes, or you can choose to use a digital oral thermometer that provides an easier-to-read digital output. There are also axillary thermometers that read from under the armpit.
What Constitutes A Fever?
Parents have an uncanny knack for knowing when their child is sick. The slightest change in behavior or flushed cheeks, and Mom or Dad suspect something is off. The normal body temperature in humans is 98.6 Fahrenheit. However, this is just an average, not a magic number. Some people tend to run a little cooler or hotter. The ambient temperature and the endocrine system, a person's regulating system that includes the sweat glands, may also cause the normal body temperature to vary. Additionally, girls and women of child-bearing age will also have a variance throughout their cycle. A person is said to have a fever when their body temperature rises above 100.4 Fahrenheit.
Is A Fever Always A Bad Thing?
No. A fever is one of the body's natural defense mechanisms against an invading virus or bacteria. The elevated temperature helps to kill the invaders, which are most able to thrive at the body's normal temperature of 98.6 Fahrenheit. A fever makes it difficult for them to continue multiplying and gaining a foothold in the body. A fever is not a bad thing; it is your body trying to do what it can to protect you.
When Is A Fever Potential Dangerous?
A fever in response to an infection is rarely anything to be concerned about, but there are some circumstances you should be concerned about.
- An infant under the age of three months with a fever should be looked at by their pediatrician. While it is likely to just be the body's normal immune response, because there often isn't any other outwardly noticeable symptoms in infants this small, it's better to err on the side of caution.
- If the fever has lasted more than five days, and the child is showing no signs of improving, it's time for them to be seen, just to ensure they don't require antibiotics or have something more serious going on.
- The fever is consistently higher than 104 Fahrenheit.
- The fever will not come down with fever reducers.
- The child has a seizure.
- The child is listless, dehydrated, or otherwise not themselves.
Contact a clinic, like Emergency Care Dynamics, for more help.