Cold and flu season is in full swing and with it comes FEVER. Children in the first few years of life get on average 6 viral colds and 3 viral diarrheal illnesses a year. These viral illnesses do not respond to antibiotics and each one lasts 10 -12 days. In the winter months, young children get a new virus about every 3 weeks. So, all those numbers add up to a lot of late nights, tissue and worry. Fever scares us parents even though it is our body’s natural healthy defense to an illness. The following are some answers to common questions that I get frequently:
- What is fever?
Fever is defined as a temperature greater or equal to 100.4 rectally.
- How do I take a temperature? https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/fever/Pages/How-to-Take-a-Childs-Temperature.aspx
- How do I know when it is time to see the doctor?
Any baby up to 3 months with fever needs to be evaluated; call us immediately even if it is late at night. Older children may be monitored at home if they are active, making eye contact and drinking well. Generally, with viruses, fever is present on and off for 72 to 96 hours and begins with the start of the illness. When fever no longer goes away with fever reducers, fever begins mid way through an illness or fever doesn’t go away after 3 or 4 days, then a trip to see us is in order!
- How should I treat the fever?
A little bit of fever is a good thing. Since the fever serves the function of fighting off an illness, begin by dressing your child loosely and offering lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. If you child remains uncomfortable, provide ibuprofen or acetaminophen according to our reference card: https://westplanopediatrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/West-Plano-Pediatrics-Reference-Card.pdf