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A fever in a child does not always mean he alth problems. But a fever in a child, especially a high temperature in an infant, requires careful observation. Before you reach for fever-lowering medications, read the answers to the most frequently asked questions about your baby's fever.

Fever in a child , especiallyfever in an infant , requires careful observation. Before you reach forfever-lowering medications , read the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What temperature can we talk about a fever from?

A he althy infant's body temperatureranges from 36.6 to 37.5ºC. This is due to the immaturity of the thermoregulation system and the variable activity of hormones throughout the day - in the morning the temperature is usually lower by about half a degree than in the evening.

The thermoregulation system is not able to cool the body efficiently when needed, so it happens that a he althy baby has a higher temperature, e.g. after prolonged crying or sleep. We talk about a child's fever only when the body temperature exceeds 38 ° C, and when it is 37.5-38 ° C - it is a low-grade fever.

How to measure the temperature?

Temperature can be measured in several ways: in the anus, on the forehead, in the ear or in the mouth. The infrared ear thermometers that slip into the child's ear are very convenient. The result appears after a second and is very accurate, as the eardrum has the same temperature as the thermoregulation center in the brain.

Another, less stressful way isthermometerin a pacifier. It looks like a regular teether, but has sensors in the silicone part and a display in the dial. You can also measure the temperature with an electronic thermometer inserted into the anus. It's best to put your baby on its side or tummy.

Put a nappy under his bottom. Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with greasy baby cream and gently insert it into the anus. You will get the result after 30 seconds. Remove the thermometer, if the child starts kicking their legs or clenching their buttocks - the tip of the thermometer may damage the anus area.

Do not use a mercury thermometer - according to European and Polish law, they should not be used anymore. Many of them break and cause cuts. Doctors advise against strips applied to the forehead - they are only used to estimate body temperature and do not guaranteecorrect measurement.

What are the causes of fever in children and infants?

The most common causes of fever in children and infants include:

  • three-day event
  • otitis
  • enteric-gastric infections, most often caused by rotavirus

A fever may also appear during the period of compulsory vaccinations (along with other symptoms such as redness or swelling at the injection site, restlessness, drowsiness) and teething.

Other possible causes of fever in children and infants are:

  • cold;
  • tonsillitis;
  • cystitis;
  • infectious diseases in children: measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox;
  • meningococcal, pneumococcal infection.
Worth knowing

Meningococci are bacteria that cause invasive meningococcal disease, with sepsis or meningitis. Pneumococci, i.e. pneumonia, are also dangerous. Pneumococci can cause many diseases. The most common infections, called invasive, are acute pneumonia, meningitis, blood poisoning (bacteremia), generalized blood poisoning (sepsis).

Rotaviruses are also very dangerous pathogens that cause acute, watery diarrhea (administered even several times a day), high fever (up to 40 degrees C) and upper respiratory tract infections. They should not be underestimated, because of rotavirus 20-30 thousand. children are hospitalized each year. Therefore, vaccination is all the more important - it can be performed between 6 and 24 weeks of age.

How to care for a feverish toddler?

Initially, as the fever increases, your little one should be well covered. But once the temperature has stabilized, your baby does not need to be wrapped as this can lead to overheating. Dress him lightly and check that he does not sweat from time to time - wet clothes need to be changed quickly.

Feverish the baby usually has no appetite and should not be force-fed. However, it should be watered abundantly - if you are breastfeeding, give your baby often, but for a short time. If with a bottle, give him a drink regularly, in small portions, preferably boiled water or age-appropriate teas and fruit juices diluted with water (pure juices contain too much sugar).

The baby's room should not be too warm (optimal temperature is 20-22ºC) and not too dry. If you don't have a special humidifier, hang a wet towel over the heater. If the fever exceeds 39ºC, you may need a cooling bath or a cooling compressgroin and forehead.

Does a child's fever have any positive sides?

Initially yes, because it is a symptom of the body's defensive reaction, a signal that mobilizes the immune system to fight microbes. Moderate fever speeds up the metabolism, which stimulates the formation of immune antibodies, and in addition, increased temperature damages viruses. However, prolonged high fever does the opposite - it increases the body's need for oxygen, water and energy, leads to dehydration and exhaustion, and inhibits immune responses.

When is fever-lowering medication needed?

Fever-lowering drugs can be administered when the fever exceeds 38.5ºC (measured in the rectum). It is then detrimental to the body, as it may cause febrile seizures. In addition, fever increases the work of the heart (an increase in body temperature by 1ºC increases the number of heartbeats by 10 per minute) and of the lungs (there is an increased loss of water due to rapid breathing).

What medications for fever can be given to babies?

In Poland, preparations based on paracetamol and ibuprofen are used for fever. The dose of the medicine must be adjusted to the age and weight of the child - detailed instructions can be found in the leaflet or on the packaging of the medicine. It is best to give the little ones medications in the form of suppositories, because there is no risk that a feverish and crying child will vomit them. No aspirin is used in children under the age of 12. With high and persistent fever, metamizole is administered more and more frequently worldwide.

Is it possible to lower a fever without medication?

Moderate fever (up to 38ºC) can be left without medication. You can put cool compresses on the forehead and neck of the child, and wrap the calves with a towel dipped in water at room temperature (such a compress must be changed every quarter of an hour). Another way is to take a bath in water that is 2 degrees lower than the temperature your child has.

Note:do not follow the advice on the Internet and do not bathe your child in cold water - it may cause a thermal shock. Antipyretic drugs are recommended at temperatures above 38.5ºC.

What are febrile seizures?

Febrile convulsions are the nervous system's reaction to a rapidly rising temperature. A child with a high fever (usually over 39 ° C) has rhythmic muscle contractions, sometimes with loss of consciousness. A febrile seizure is like an epilepsy and usually lasts for a few minutes. In this case, call a doctor as soon as possible.

While waiting for him, put the baby on its side and loosen her clothes. Give the antipyretic in a suppository (liquid medications are excluded, the little one could choke). After a seizureFor those with feverishness, the doctor will recommend your child to have an EEG neurological test to rule out brain damage.

When to call a doctor?

Whenever a newborn baby has a temperature above 38ºC and an older baby over 39ºC, or a child has a chronic disease and the doctor has advised him to be called in case of a fever. The indications for an immediate call to a doctor are also:

  • the desperate crying of the baby, especially when touching and hugging;
  • trouble breathing;
  • stiff neck and resistance when trying to pull the head towards the chest;
  • red spots on the skin;
  • febrile convulsions;
  • diarrhea or vomiting;
  • weakness, sleepiness or being very excited;
  • disturbance of consciousness (e.g. hallucinations, anxiety);
  • dehydration - the baby cries without tears, his urine is dark yellow, the sockets are sunken, there is no saliva in his mouth.

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