Fever in children: the 10 most important facts

Fever in children: the 10 most important facts

No matter whether it is the first, second, third or fourth child. If there is a fever, the parents are worried again and again: where does it come from? What does it mean? What if the little one gets a febrile seizure?

And above all, how do we get the temperature back under control as quickly as possible? Or even better down? In order to take a bit off the fever of the fever, we have put together the 10 most important facts on the subject.

Fact 1: Fever helps the body heal itself

Fever, derived from the Latin "febris" – "heat", describes the increased core body temperature. When children are feverish, their body usually defends itself against pathogens or foreign substances that have entered the body.

Accordingly, the fever itself is not a clinical picture, but only shows up as a symptom of it. As a result, fever does not cause illness, but opposes it as the body’s response.

Or more precisely: It shows that the child’s own immune system is working at full speed. Because the body temperature rises to activate the metabolism. At the same time, this drives the bone marrow to release white blood cells. These are used to fight annoying attackers as soon as the body has recognized them as pathogens.

The increased temperature therefore does nothing else than start and support the body’s defense system. Therefore, the fever is far from being as worrying as many parents still believe.

Fact 2: Fever is relatively normal in children and therefore relatively common

Children in particular have a fever much more often than adults, but this also makes sense. Because while the body’s defense system is fully functional in adults, it still has to develop in children. The older the children get, the more w >

However, since it is not yet, it is easy for many pathogens to enter children’s immune systems, which then react with a fever. The fact that a child suffers from high temperatures up to 10 times a year is less the exception than the rule.

  • 528 pages – 08.01.2020 (date of publication) – Kösel-Verlag (editor)

Fact 3: How and when best to lower fever

The minimum temperature, also called the basal temperature (from the base temperature), is 36.0 to 37.8 °. This temperature should occur during sleep and can also be measured in the morning after waking up. Accordingly, fever begins at a temperature of 37.9 to 41.0 °. Beyond that, it rarely works.

It is known from years of observation that the body has an internal regulation mechanism that limits the level of the fever. This is for self-protection before it harms your own body. At least when the body’s own defenses can act reliably and without restrictions.

If she cannot do this, fever over 40 ° must be treated with antipyretic therapy. Nevertheless, it is still common in practice to often lower the fever beforehand. However, studies have shown that, for many infections, the antipyretic measures on the contrary have complicated the course of the disease and prolonged it accordingly.

And even if this was not the case, it could be shown that lowering the fever does not usually have a positive effect on shortening the disease. It only has a mitigating effect on accompanying symptoms, which in many cases can often do a good job.

Pediatrician Dr. Ulrich Fegeler from Berlin puts it this way: “If a child is reasonably alert, there is no need to treat fever. However, if it is very weak and tearful and only wants to get on the arm, antipyretic agents can bring relief. ”The active ingredients, which are mostly used to lower fever, are either ibuprofen or paracetamol, in the form of juices, drops or suppositories can be administered.

Calf wraps, on the other hand, can often put too much strain on the child’s circulation. They should therefore only be used if the calves of the little sick patient feel really hot.

Fact 4: Measuring fever also needs to be learned

Numerous methods are known for measuring fever: on the forehead, under the tongue, in the mouth, in the ear, under the armpits, in the groin area, in the vagina, in the buttocks. Just as numerous are the available thermometers – starting with the digital clinical thermometer to the forehead or pacifier thermometer to the ear thermometer .

The most reliable method – especially for infants and young children – that really determines a reliable value, however, is fever measurement in the buttocks. Because compared to all other measurement methods, the result is always the highest here.

For example, the temperature in the oral cavity deviates by about -0.3 to -0.5 °, the temperature under the armpits by about -0.5 to -1.0 °. The results of the ear thermometer, with which the temperature of the eardrum is measured, are basically as reliable as the rectal measurement. However, the thermometer must be positioned exactly and at the right angle, which is not always possible. Above all, however, it is not suitable for temperature measurement if the child has, for example, an otitis media.

Fact 5: This is how fever is measured in the buttocks

Measuring fever in the butt is not one of the most pleasant methods. Therefore, you should make it as comfortable as possible for your baby or child. For this, mom or dad should first warm the tip of the digital thermometer a little with their own hands so that it is not too cold when inserted and is therefore uncomfortable for the child.

Then put a little cream on the tip so that the thermometer can slide easily, safely and gently into the bottom. To do this, the child is placed on its side or back, its legs bent, and the thermometer carefully inserted a maximum of two centimeters. In order to be able to measure correctly, the thermometer should of course not slip. It cannot do this if you push lightly against the thermometer and thus your child’s bottom.

Anyone who does not have to handle an old mercury thermometer here, but has a digital one, has a clear advantage. Because then the whole procedure or the measurement does not take longer than a minute.

Fact 6: The febrile seizure

The greatest panic causes all parents the risk of a febrile seizure, which – to take away his ubiquitous horror – is rarely really dangerous. Because a simple febrile seizure usually lasts only a few seconds to a minute and then has no harmful effects.

However, as always, the exception confirms the rule. Febrile seizures occur in up to 14% of all children aged 1 to 5 years. It is easy to see why the tendency to febrile seizures is increased in small children >

The likelihood that a child who has already had a febrile seizure is at risk again with every febrile infection is rather small, if not excluded. However, the fact is that the risk of febrile seizure for children appears to be increased if the body’s core temperature rises very quickly.

The overloaded brain reacts and makes the child pass out. Accordingly, the small body either becomes quite limp or stiffens, the eyes can roll, the muscles twitch, the oral mucous membranes uncontrollably secrete saliva. When the cramp is over, the child is usually still dazed for a few minutes, but the child falls into a well-deserved and exhausted sleep almost seamlessly.

Fact 7: First aid for febrile seizures

Even if it demands everything from you as parents, as with any other first aid measure, the same applies to your child’s febrile seizure: Above all, keep calm!

  • Calm your child with her gentle and confident tone!
  • Bring your child to the stable side position as quickly as possible!
  • But DO NOT hold it, DO NOT shake it, DO NOT shout at it, DO NOT shock it with shock therapy / measures!
  • Prevent your child from biting his tongue during the seizure by inserting a handkerchief between his teeth!
  • Give him a fever suppository with paracetamol or ibuprofen

If the child cramps for more than a minute, or is less than half a year or older than five years, call the emergency doctor in any case and watch your child closely. Because in the meantime, mouth-to-mouth ventilation is needed.

For children who have had a febrile seizure before, the emergency doctor should be contacted immediately. This informative V >

Fact 8: sweat, chills and loss of fluid

The chills that are often typical of fever are particularly evident when the temperature rises and thus often in the first phase of the fever. Here you should make sure that your child is wrapped up warm so that further heat loss is avoided.

The equally well-known sweating usually shows up in the later phases, since it is started by the body as an intended counter program in order to lower the core body temperature again. Because when you sweat, the heat is transported outside via the body.

The same applies to all measures to lower the fever. First of all, they also cause the child to become warm, if not extremely hot. Accordingly, especially in phases when there is a lot of sweating, you need to drink a lot to make up for the loss of fluid.

Fact 9: Fever does not necessarily mean bed rest

Many parents tend to want to put their child to bed with a fever. This is often not only not very sensible, but also extremely complicated, especially if your child steadfastly refuses. Because the temperature does not say anything about the general condition of the child or about the severity of the disease.

If your child feels bad or is exhausted, it will most likely want to go to bed all by itself. If it does not feel restricted by the fever, but very fit, then it can calmly do what it would otherwise do.

Toddler has a fever but feels fit

You should only make sure that it is

  • neither physically nor mentally overworked
  • not in the blazing sun or
  • sitting in drafty rooms

Fact 10: When to see the doctor

Even if the increased body temperature means that the body’s defense system has just declared war on foreign pathogens and therefore works well, it does not mean that you will have to shy away from seeing the doctor if your child’s temperature is elevated.

Fever is one of the most common reasons why children, why pediatricians are regularly visited outside of preventive checkups and vaccination appointments. So you are definitely not alone with your fears and insecurities.

In particular, however, the following applies:

Children who are under 3 months old should ALWAYS be examined by a doctor if they have a fever. The same applies to children who are not yet 6 months old, but whose temperature reaches 39 °. In addition, all children in whom the fever climbs above 39 ° as well as children in whom the fever has not dropped for more than three days.

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