Taking care of a fever
Column by Fera Butts
Fever can be present in the course of many childhood illnesses. Fever is usually a sign of illness; however, a fever itself alone should not cause alarm. Fevers are your body's natural response to cleanse itself and once detected, should be monitored regularly. The body's thermostat generally keeps the body temperature below 106 degrees F. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F (37° C), but the body temperature can vary between 97 degrees F and 100 degrees F. Fever is defined as an oral temperature above 100 degrees F, or an axillary (underarm) temperature above 99 degrees F.
If your child is acting ill or feels warm to touch, you may take the temperature using a store bought thermometer. We recommend digital thermometers for their ease of use and durability, but you should consult your child's pediatrician on how frequently they would like temperature recorded.
Home treatment for fever1. Offer extra fluids. Fever increases normal fluid losses.
2. Dress the child in breathable clothing to allow extra body heat to escape through the skin. Avoid chill and overheating.
3. Treat with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) if the temperature is above 101.5° F to 102° F and the child is uncomfortable or breathing heavily. Do not use aspirin unless recommended by the pediatrician.
4. If the temperature is greater than 104 degrees F, or the child is unable to take medication for fever, you may sponge the child in a tub or sink with lukewarm (not cold) water.
Failure to appropriately control fever can increase risk of Febrile Seizure.
Call the pediatrician immediately if1. Your child is less than two months old with fever.
2. Fever is more than 105 degrees F.
3. Your child is crying and cannot be consoled.
4. Your child is difficult to awaken, confused or delirious.
5. Your child has a seizure or convulsion.
6. Your child has a stiff neck.
7. Your child has purple spots on the skin.
8. Breathing is difficult or your child is acting very ill.
Call the pediatrician during regular office hours if
1. Fever has been present for more than 24 hours without an obvious cause or location of infection.
2. You are concerned.
Castle Rock Adventist Health Campus Emergency department is on hand 24 hours a day seven days a week, even during Broncos games and holidays to care for your emergencies. Call us at 720-455-1000 with any questions or visit www.castlerockadventist.org for more information.