Temperatures – What they are and how to treat them!
A fever/temperature in children usually indicates that they have picked up a bacterial or viral infection but can also be a result of a reaction to a vaccine or becoming overheated.
A child’s normal temperature can range from about 97°F/36.1°C up to 99.4°F/37.4°C. Most doctors consider a temperature of 100.4°F/38°C or higher as a fever when measured using an oral, ear or rectal thermometer. A baby younger than three months of age with a temperature over 100.4°F/38°C or a baby aged between 3 and 6 months with a fever of over 102.2°F/39°C should be brought straight to a doctor.
For children aged up to five years of age it is recommended to take their temperature using an infra red tympanic thermometer (in other words an ear thermometer!) or an electronic axilla thermometer ( an underarm thermometer). Other methods of measuring temperature are not routinely recommended.
There are a number of things you can do if your child has a temperature including removing excessive clothing so that your child is wearing a light layer and give plenty of fluid in the form of breast milk, formula, dioralyte or water depending on their age. Tepid sponging is not recommended in the latest NICE Guidelines. Avoid putting your baby in a warm or cool bath as a quick change in body temperature can be difficult for their bodies to manage and can lead to further complications.
How you deal with a high temperature depends on a number of factors but if your baby is less than 3 months with a temperature of 100.4°F/38°C or over, or is 3 to 6 months and has a temperature of 102.2°F/39°C or greater then you should contact your doctor.
You can give liquid paracetamol (calpol) or ibuprofen (nurofen) to children over three months of age when appropriate – but these medications are only recommended for fever if your child seems distressed or unwell. Both are good for reducing temperature and get to work within 15mins. I would advise starting with a dose of paracetamol and then reassessing your baby’s symptoms 30-60 minutes later. Ibruprofen and Paracetamol can be used together if necessary but just make sure to follow dosage instructions and cautions on box. You should not routinely give them together – only in the case that one of the medicines alone is not reducing your child’s high fever. To learn more about using these medicines together have a read of this blog –http://wonderbaba.ie/2015/12/19/can-i-give-calpol-and-nurofen-together/
If your baby is very sick or suffering from a sore throat and it is not possible to use liquid medicine I would recommend using paracetamol (paralink) or ibuprofen (nurofen for children) suppositories. It sounds horrible but I promise when you are looking at a baby with a temperature of 39.5 who won’t unclench their lips it is definitely worth considering! They are so easy to use – for tips don’t hesitate to message me!
Seek medical advice if your child is lethargic, not eating, has a rash, shows signs of dehydration or has a seizure. Have a read of my dehydration blog here http://wonderbaba.ie/2015/04/23/a-wonderbaba-guide-to-dehydration/
Whilst this all sounds very alarming and of course due caution is always worth taking, do remember a temperature is a bodies normal fighting response. Follow the above guidelines and contact your doctor when necessary and your little ones will hopefully bounce back in no time!
Its worth investing in a reliable thermometer from a reputable brand for your own peace of mind – I recommend something like a Braun thermoscan – particularly the 5 and 7 models It takes the reading in just one second and comes with BPA free filters which prevent cross contamination amongst family members. Check out my full review on thermoscan thermometers by clicking here!
I always keep one like this in my first aid kit and also in my washbag…honestly it’s the only way I know I will always have it with me when travelling! They are really reliable and good for under arm measurements. These work a lot faster than when I was a child as I remember having to wait for so long to get the magic beep! These work in about 10 seconds! https://www.wonderbaba.ie/p/microlife_thermometer_express
I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page or my website contact page or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.
Reviewed 18/5/18 & 15/6/18