Fever is one of the ways that the body fights off an infection, and is usually not a reason for the single mom to panic. A rise in temperature is usually just a sign that something different is going on in the body.
While most moms seem to shrug off a low fever and become alarmed as the temperature rises, the seriousness of the infection isn’t reflected by the actual temperature reading at all. Sometimes a serious infection only causes a low fever while a high fever indicates a less serious illness.
The fever should go away on its own within a few days, but over the counter medications can bring a child’s fever down. If you have any unease about a fever in your child, call the medical care provider and discuss your concerns. They may advise you not to try to lower the child’s temperature if the fever is not too high as it could mask other symptoms or even prolong whatever illness is causing the low grade fever.
Don’t treat your child’s fever with aspirin. Reye’s syndrome is rare, but can be triggered by aspirin taken by children. Reye’s syndrome has the potential to be fatal.
Make sure that your child drinks enough fluids during a fever so that they remain comfortable and don’t become dehydrated. Offer water, broth and juice.
Help the child stay comfortable by dressing him in light clothing. Keep the room cool, and even if he is suffering from chills, don’t let him get overheated by covering him with heavy blankets.
Activity can raise body temperature even more, so try to get your child to rest. Go ahead and let him watch TV or read to him to allow his body to recover.
If the child needs to be bathed, use lukewarm water. Don’t try to cool the child down with a cool sponging or bath and don’t use alcohol. Avoid a hot bath that will only heat the body more.
When to Call the Doctor
Any time that the temperature of a newborn rises or falls, the doctor should be called because infant’s bodies are unable to regulate temperature. Once the child is three months of age, call the doctor when the temperature goes above 101 degrees F.
If the child is under the age of two years, call the doctor if the child is unresponsive or lethargic.
Children past the age of four can run a fever that can be treated at home unless they also present any of the following symptoms:
* Severe headache
* Severe stomach ache
* Shows a lot of discomfort
* Is irritable
* Repeated vomiting
* The fever persists longer than three days
* If the child has been exposed to extreme heat
If your child has a pre-existing illness or has problems with his immune system, the doctor should be notified if a fever is present. Sometimes a new drug will cause a child’s body temperature to go up, and the doctor should be notified.
If your child runs a recurrent fever, call the doctor. A recurrent fever is when the temperature returns to normal for 48 hours, but then rises again.
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