Georgina Taylor explains what to look out for and how best to be proactive.
Back to school and surrounded by a plethora of new germs that the little one inevitably comes into contact with.
A fever is part of the body’s natural defence against viruses or bacteria. As Dr Stuart Crisp, consultant paediatrician explains, “the body creates extra heat, so that the foreign organisms cannot survive. Having a temperature helps you fight illness.” While actions can be taken to reduce a fever to make your child more comfortable, you should not aim to reduce your child’s temperature significantly. In children the “part of the human brain that controls temperature is not fully developed” which causes a child’s temperature to fluctuate and become more sensitive to surroundings.
What is the normal temperature for a child?
If taken from your child’s mouth or ear, 36oC to 36.8oC is considered normal. How to take this temperature is the main challenge – an ear thermometer is a great investment as it can be used on both adults and children, and is a quick and easy method providing a reading in seconds. If your child co-operates for long enough then use either a traditional mercury thermometer (which are being phased out) or a modern probe-type digital thermometer under the armpit.
Best course of action
Liquids, temperature, rest and medication all need to be kept in check. More liquids than usual are needed as a fever causes your child to sweat, and provided they drink enough, it will not matter too much if they are not eating as usual for a couple of days. “You do not sweat out a fever,” explains Crisp. If your child is cold, it is more than okay to cover them with a blanket, but as soon as your child gets too hot and begins to sweat, it is time to cool them down. Calpol is the usual choice although ibuprofen e.g. Nurofen for Children is equally as effective.
Dr Stuart Crisp’s final advice is that, “It’s okay to give in and spoil a child a little when they’re sick. Spend time with them.”