Child Fever: When is Hot, Too Hot?
“My Child Has a Fever… When Should I Call the Doctor?”
We’re all afraid of being that parent.
You know the one: paranoid about every bump and bruise, secretly believing every runny nose is symptomatic of something far more serious than flu.
Deep down inside we fear that every doctor, friend, and fellow mom is joyfully judging our every parenting move.
Do not fret. They are as paranoid as you are, and they are pretending not to be, just as much as you are.
You’re allowed to be nervous about your child. If you are not, who else is going to be?
So, with that put to bed, let’s focus on what we really want to know, so that you know what to do when that nagging feeling just won’t go away.
What is Considered a High Temperature for Children?
1. Teething Fevers (36.5 – 37.4 Degrees Celsius)
Here is an old wives’ tale ready to be debunked.
When your baby or toddler is teething, they may experience slightly elevated temperatures. They might also experience slightly loosened stools.
However, the word ‘slightly’ seems to cover a multitude of sins, and we often miss the symptoms of more serious illnesses, like ear infection or tonsillitis, as we mark it up to that awful ‘teething’ phase.
Teething temperatures are anything from 36.5 – 37.4 degrees Celsius.
That is ‘slightly’ raised.
2. Fever of 37.5 Degrees Celsius and Higher
The last thing we want in the world is for our little ones to be sick. Watching them suffer through a fever can be terribly worrying.
However, a raised temperature is the body’s way of activating the immune system. It also helps stop the advance of bacteria and viruses.
Anything over 37.5 degrees Celsius is considered high, and may be due to an underlying infection or a virus.
Go see the doctor.
What to do When Your Child has a High Fever
Aside from the emotional care your child needs when they are sick, like a little extra loving and spoiling from a loved blankie at sleep time, or their favourite snack or drink, there are a few things you need to do medically to make sure your child is not in danger.
1. Take Your Child’s Temperature Regularly with a Reliable Thermometer
You don’t want any guess work here. When your doctor asks what the temp was two hours ago, you need to absolutely know.
Make sure the thermometer you have is reliable, easy to use, and well-designed.
Moms love and trust our Brother Max Thermometer.
2. Cool Them Off
a. Use a damp facecloth to wipe their bodies down.
b. Take off extra clothing.
c. Use paediatric fever medication – syrup or suppository – to bring the temperature down.
d. Take their temperature again to measure if it comes down after 10 or so minutes.
3. What if My Child is Not Responding / Convulsing?
If your child is limp or not responding:
1. Place them in a tepid bath to rapidly bring the body temperature down.
2. Give them fever medication
3. Immediately go see your doctor.
If your child is convulsing:
Febrile convulsions usually start at a sudden spike in temperatures due to fevers over 38 degrees.
1. Remain calm.
2. Check the time the convulsion starts so that you can tell your doctor the duration afterwards.
3. If possible remove clothing to cool them down.
4. Place a damp warm towel over your child’s body to cool them down.
5. If they are still seizing after that, carefully lay them on their left side and wait until the convulsions have passed.
6. Do not try to suppress or stop the convulsion or put anything in their mouths.
7. Give them oral fever medication if they are responsive, alternatively paediatric suppositories work quickly as an alternative.
8. Go to the doctor as soon as possible.
9. Afterwards your child might be sleepy or lethargic.
We sincerely hope your child is happy and healthy, and we are here for you for those times when a little extra loving and support is needed too.