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My child has fever, now what?

October 30, 2019

Many parents find themselves asking the question “what is a fever and when should I be concerned?”. The answer can vary depending on quite a few factors.

So, what is a fever? According to UpToDate.com, “fever is an abnormal elevation of body temperature that occurs as part of a specific biologic response” and typically the “height of the fever is less important than other signs of serious illness”. Fevers are typically the body’s response to an infection or illness which causes the brain to elevate the body temperature to help fight the infection.

The following defines fever by age:

  1. For healthy neonates and young infants (less than 3 months of age), a rectal temperature of ≥38.0°C (100.4°F). These infants need to see a doctor immediately. 
  2. Children age 3 to 36 months, fever is defined by rectal temperature ≥38.0°C
  3. In older children, an oral temperature ≥37.8°C (100°F) is considered a fever but a fever of concern is ≥39.5°C (103.1°F)
  4. “temperature thresholds of concern for children with underlying conditions” vary greatly and should be discussed with a physician

Caregivers should always use a thermometer to accurately determine a child’s temperature.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends focusing on a few key factors:

  • “the general well-being of the child, his/her activity, observing the child for signs of serious illness and maintaining appropriate fluid intake”
  • Avoid waking up “a sleeping child to administer a fever-reducer”
  • “be aware that the correct dosage is based on the child’s weight, and that an accurate measuring device should always be used”

Fever can accompany a variety of childhood illnesses, viral or bacterial. These illnesses can include (but are not limited to) ear infections, influenza, croup, and the common cold.


Call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room if your child develops difficulty breathing, blue color around the mouth, appears lethargic or has a decreased level of consciousness.


For more information about fever visit healthchildren.org at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/fever/Pages/Fever-Without-Fear.aspx

References

AAP Issues Advice on Managing Fevers in Children. (2011, February 28). Retrieved October 29, 2019, from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Issues-Advice-on-Managing-Fevers-in-Children.aspx.

Fever without Fear: Information for Parents. (2016, April 22). Retrieved October 29, 2019, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/fever/Pages/Fever-Without-Fear.aspx.

Ward, M. A., Edwards, M. S., & Torchia, M. M. (2019, May 9). Fever in infants and children: Pathophysiology and management. Retrieved October 29, 2019, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/fever-in-infants-and-children-pathophysiology-and-management?search=fever in children&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2.

It's FLU season!

September 28, 2019

It’s that time of year again, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and fevers. Is it the flu?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “While the influenza vaccine is not 100% effective, we do know that those who get influenza after having been vaccinated are less likely to be significantly ill, be hospitalized, or have serious complications”.

So, what do parents really need to know? Here are a few important facts from Healthychildren.org:

  • Flu is short for influenza
  • The flu is a virus and is spread from person to person through the air or by direct contact
    • It is spread when someone coughs or sneezes and the virus gets into the air
    • It can also be spread when a person touches a contaminated surface such as a door handle
  • Flu season typically starts in early fall and peaks during winter months
  • Flu symptoms may include:
    • Fever, typically over 101°F
    • Chills and body aches
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Dry, hacking cough
    • Runny nose
  • Symptoms can last a week or longer
  • Treatment may include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), extra rest and fluids
  • Your pediatrician may prescribe antiviral mediation but this is typically most effective when started within the first 1 to 2 days of symptoms
  • Children should NEVER be given Aspirin
  • The best way to prevent the flu virus is to get the flu vaccine every year

For more information about the flu visit healthychildren.org at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/The-Flu.aspx


References

Patient Education and Vaccine Hesitancy. (2019, September). Retrieved September 28, 2019, from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/immunizations/Influenza-Implementation-Guidance/Pages/Patient-Education-and-Vaccine-Hesitancy.aspx.

The Flu. (2019, September 2). Retrieved September 28, 2019, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/The-Flu.aspx.