Also known as pyrexia, this is characterized by an increase in body temperature due to the body fighting either a bacterial or viral infection.
During a fever, the body’s energy is re-directed to combat the foreign invaders from within. So much so that the physical functions are hampered. Symptoms include:
1) Body temperature imbalance – During a fever, one will feel warm to the touch, but experience chills from inside the body. In general, temperature above 37.8 degree Celcius is considered feverish. For infants the normal body temperature ranges from 36.5 to 37.2 degrees Celsius. If the infants temp is above 37.2 degrees, check first that the baby is not just warm from too much layers of clothing.
2) Muscle weakness/Malaise – The body will feel rigid and/or sore. This is a sign to limit movement so the body can focus on warding off the infection.
3) Fatigue – One may also experience general exhaustion
4) Lack of appetite – Solid food is not advisable during this time. A soft diet of soup or porridge will do for now.
Fever is only a symptom of an illness. Sometimes, it’s best to leave the fever untreated and let the body fight it off. This allows the immune system to develop even more resistance to future infections.
However, parents who have experiences a cranky and irritable child will want more than just home remedies. When your child is sick and cranky, sometimes it’s best to make them more comfortable by giving medicine for fever like paracetamol so that both you and your child can get some rest. You can give Paracetamol every 4-6 hours or as needed.
If your child is sleeping it is not necessary to wake him just to give medicine. Paracetamol is not a cure because fever is not an illness, it is just a helping hand to make your child feel better. So if he is sleeping soundly, then there is not need to be strict with the 4-6 hour interval. For babies and children, proper dosing is computed by the weight of the child so its best to consult your pediatrician.
Fever Do’s and Dont’s
1) Bed rest coupled with drinking lots of fluids at least 8 glasses of water and clear soup to prevent dehydration.
2) Give a tepid or room temperature sponge bath to lower body heat. Don’t give sponge bath with rubbing alcohol as this will cool the skin too fast.
3) Wear loose clothing and don’t cover the patient with a blanket or jacket.
4) Regularly take temperature. If it is 37.8 degree Celsius and above you may give fever reducing medicine like Paracetamol. Consult your doctor for proper dosing.
If the fever is too high or doesn’t improve in a few days, consult your doctor immediately.