According to most contemporary healthcare practitioners, a person has a fever if they have a body temperature of 37.8°C or higher (taken with a mouth thermometer). An elevated body temperature can be worrisome or even downright scary when it happens to your child, particularly if they’re very young.
However, do note that it’s normal for kids to get a fever every so often. Usually, it’s because they have a minor infection like a cold. What’s more, fever is not an illness; rather, it’s a symptom that indicates an illness and that the body is fighting off the cause of that ailment.
Causes of a fever can include viral diseases, heat exhaustion, and even receiving certain medicines or vaccines. Your child may also experience a fever if they’ve recently undergone a medical procedure (e.g., blood transfusion), or is suffering an autoimmune condition.
If your child has a fever, you can try these home remedies to help bring down their body temperature. Just remember that it may take some time for the fever to be completely gone, so be patient.
Give Fever Reducers
If your child is old enough (make sure to ask your pediatrician), you can give them fever-reducing medicines like acetaminophen or paracetamol. It doesn’t matter if it’s a branded one or a generic medicine Philippines-based companies produce and sell in trusted drugstores. As long as the right active ingredients are present, it will provide some fever relief.
Of course, make sure that your child isn’t allergic to any of the components. You should also check the label so you can give the correct dosage at the right intervals. Most importantly, don’t give aspirin to infants or toddlers. When in doubt, consult your doctor.
Dress Your Child in Light Clothes
One of the most persistent old wives’ tales in the Philippines regarding fevers is that you have to sweat them out. Thus, a lot of mothers dress their feverish kids in warm clothing or bundle them up in extra thick blankets. Depending on when you were born, you’ve probably experienced this (or even done it to your own child).
However, this practice actually causes a further increase in body temperature and even results in discomfort. The better thing to do is to dress your child in comfortable, breathable clothing so that they can feel cooler as they recover from their illness. This doesn’t mean that you should crank up the setting of the electric fan or air conditioner to maximum, though. Rather, simply ensure that your child feels at ease and isn’t getting overheated.
Try a Lukewarm Bath
If dressing your child in light clothing doesn’t do much, try giving them a lukewarm bath or sponge bath. Using alcohol isn’t recommended, since it dries quickly and can result in shivers; in turn, this can cause a further increase in body temperature. A quick bath or shower will do.
In case you have a bathtub, don’t leave your child unattended even for a few seconds. Get them out of the tub after a couple of minutes and make sure they’re completely dry before dressing them up in cool, comfortable clothes.
Sometimes, your child might lose their appetite or find it difficult to eat or to swallow their food when they have a fever. This can cause a lot of problems, especially since the body needs to stay hydrated to regulate body temperature.
If your feverish child isn’t in the mood or thinks that plain water is boring, try giving them fruit-infused water instead. You can also try fruit juices or even popsicles. When it comes to food, soups are a great source of fluids and electrolytes. Meanwhile, small treats like flavored gelatin can also help a bit with hydration and whetting their appetite.
Let Them Rest
Finally, your child needs a lot of rest to let their body recover from their illness and fever. Minimize their screen time and let them sleep as much as possible. If it’s time to drink fever medicine but your child is still asleep, don’t wake them up. Unless you have to adhere to a strict schedule, just give the medicine once your child wakes up and then adjust the timetable as needed.
A fever can certainly be nerve-racking but it’s not always something serious. If your child is still active, alert, as well as able to eat and drink (and keep it down), then they’re probably only dealing with a minor infection.
However, if your child is unnaturally pale or flushed, be on the alert. Take note of their body temperature, and if it reaches 40°C or higher, go to the hospital right away. A high fever in children, particularly infants, is a serious matter and often caused by severe infections.
You should also get immediate medical attention if your child’s fever goes on for days. If your child is younger than 2 years, a fever that lasts for more than a day is a cause of concern. If your child is 2 years of age or older, go to your doctor if the fever persists for more than 3 days.