Fever is a frequent symptom of childhood ailments. But does it always require treatment? And what’s the best way to reduce a fever without causing harm to a child’s body?
Any doctor will say: if the temperature is less than 38 C, don’t worry about reducing the fever. After all, a fever indicates the child’s body is fighting against infection. Hyperthermia (high temperature) causes the production of substances that neutralize viruses. –This is called interferon. The peak of interferon production comes during the 2nd-3rd days of illness, and if one does not interfere with the body, most infections successfully disappear in three days.
When a loving mom becomes panic-stricken and subdues a temperature under 38 C, the illness can last for a week or two! However, if a baby’s temperature is above thirty-eight, you should take action. Of course, all children are different, so it’s important to know your child’s resting temperature.
Drugs that help
It is believed children under 14 years of age should not be given antipyretics based on aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). This component provokes bleeding. According to some studies, aspirin can cause brain and liver damage in children. Also, doctors do not recommend reducing a temperature with analginum because of its toxic effect on the body.
If your doctor does not mind, you can give a child medicine containing paracetamol. (Please note: the effect of antipyretic agents in the form of suppositories is longer than that of drugs in the form of suspensions or tablets.) Anti-fever syrup starts action within 20 minutes after ingestion, suppositories - within 30-40 minutes. If you are used to subduing a baby’s fever with syrup, choose one that’s free from dyes and fragrances: they can cause an allergic reaction. Before taking any medication, always consult your physician.
What to do
Wipe the child’s body with a damp sponge. You can use vinegar solution (vinegar mixed with water 1:1) . Ensure your baby drinks plenty of liquids, intake rate should exceed the usual by 20-30%. Do not wrap your baby up: put on light pajamas and cover a baby with a thin blanket or bed sheet.
Avoid feeding your child by force, let him choose what he wants to eat. If your baby has severe headache, you can put ice wrapped in a towel or diaper on his forehead. And remember: neither drugs nor wiping will reduce the baby’s fever to a normal temperature (36C). If he has a temperature of 39.5 C or higher, call a doctor.
Seek medical assistance, when:
Your child has at least one of the following symptoms:
- Dehydration: hollow eyes, decreased urination or dry diapers, hollow fontanelle in children under one year, no tears when crying, dry mucous membrane in mouth, dry tongue, severe drowsiness or unusual excitement, unpleasant odor from mouth.
- Cramps, purple rash or bruised eyes.
- Apathy, drowsiness, lack of response to attempts to wake the baby.
- Severe headache that cannot be relieved by analgesics and antipyretics.
- Persistent vomiting or uncontrollable diarrhea (more than 3-4 times).