Much of the consultation with pediatricians is due to fever. It generates great concern and fear for parents with good reason, and reaches up to 70% of consultations. We must start by saying that fever does not cause meningitis, it is the other way around, fever is secondary to infectious processes. When a child has a fever it is because something is happening in his body and it is vital that the pediatrician determine the cause of the fever through a physical examination and assessment of the symptoms that may accompany the clinical picture. It is not fever that causes the infectious process, fever is a response of our body to it.
Fever is when the body temperature rises above 38 ° C, however, this value will vary depending on where you take the temperature: armpit, ear, forehead, oral or rectal. The first 3 are the easiest, but less exact. Rectal temperature is the parameter for body temperature, and it is the one with the highest clinical value, although it is not so easy to perform. Oral temperature is only possible in children older than 4-5 years, because they collaborate with an adequate technique. Axillary temperature can be measured in small babies, but it is necessary to remember that its value is less than the rectal, 0.5 – 1 degree less.
The thermometers digital are inexpensive and easy to get, they are a good method, but could decalibrate time. Glass ones with mercury are also a very good option, but you need to handle them carefully to avoid breaking them and exposing them to mercury. Plastic strip thermometers and pacifiers may not be accurate.
Infections are the most common causes of fever, and depending on age, they are generally viral in origin, and do not require antibiotics. One of the great challenges that pediatricians have is determining when it is necessary to use antibiotics, thus avoiding their overuse, and for this we could say that in:
* Newborns : fever is rare, but evaluation is important when it occurs, since approximately 10% could be due to a severe bacterial infection.
* Infants up to 3 months : fever is slightly more frequent and approximately 5% is due to severe bacterial infections.
* Children from 3 months to 6 years : fever is very common, but severe bacterial infections are less than 0.5 – 1%.
This means that with older age viruses are often the most common cause of fever and antibiotics are not necessary. I insist that evaluation by the doctor is important to determine the cause. Unless the doctor has previously evaluated the child, it should not be diagnosed or prescribed remotely, by phone or whatsapp, since some important diagnosis could escape.
Does babies’ teething cause a fever?
Although there is little scientific evidence, fever is described many times when new teeth appear in babies, but a cause of the fever should always be sought, especially if the temperature is above 38.9 ° C, in which case it cannot be attributed to teething.
If my baby is too warm, can the temperature rise?
In babies younger than 3 months, sheltering them a lot can increase body temperature. However, if the temperature is above 38.5 ° C, another cause of fever should be sought. Do not forget that after vaccines a fever may also occur in some cases.
Should I always lower the fever?
Fever is a response of our immune system to fight infection, it means that we should not always lower it (fever would inhibit the replication of bacteria and viruses). However, many times the fever can make the child feel bad, in which case it may be necessary to lower it.
Remember that if your child is over 3 months old, and the temperature is below 38.9 ° C and looks good and acts normally without other clinical manifestations, it is not always necessary to lower the fever.
Which is better: ibuprofen or paracetamol?
We should never use them without a prescription, that is, without prior evaluation. The paracetamol is first choice, based on clinical experience confirms that it is safe and effective. It can be used every 4-6 hours, and works in 30-60 minutes. The i buprofeno is given every 6 hours, not be used in children younger than 6 months. The dose is calculated based on weight, and must be indicated by the pediatrician.
When should I worry and quickly seek medical assistance?
- If your child does not respond or has trouble walking.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You have blue lips, tongue, or nails.
- You have a lot of headache or abdominal pain.
- You have a skin rash.
- Does not stop crying.
- He is very irritable and annoyed.
- You have diarrhea that does not stop or worsens.
- You are vomiting.
- Look dehydrated (urinate less, cry without tears, less alert, less active).
- It hurts to urinate.
- You have any other specific symptoms (sore throat or ear).
Can my child seizure from fever?
Some children can seizure from fever, and this occurs in children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. Most of the time they do not cause any damage or sequelae, however, whenever this happens, evaluation by the doctor is necessary to rule out other causes of the seizure. It should be clear that not all children seizure from fever.
In conclusion, fever is a consequence of our immune response to an infection, but not the cause of infections. You should always consult a medical professional and remember that generally it is caused by viruses in children and antibiotics are not necessary. Viral processes can last an average of a week, which means that after the doctor has evaluated your child, the fever will probably continue for a few more days and you should stay calm and follow the recommendations given. It is not always necessary to lower the fever since the fever fulfills an immune defense function.