Fever in Children

November 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

This information is about taking a child’s temperature and fever in children. It covers what a fever in kids is and what to do about fever in children.

Fever is a symptom, it is not a disease by itself. A child can have a fever from something as simple as a cold or something as complex as severe pneumonia.

In children, especially young ones, normal temperature varies. For a child under three years old, a normal rectal temperature may range from 97 to 100 degrees. For children over four years of age, a normal oral temperature varies from 96 to 99 degrees. Children’s temperatures vary depending on the time of the day, the temperature of the room, the weather, the amount of clothing the child is wearing, and what the child has been doing. Always dresschildren so that they are comfortable and can move easily, overdressing will increase their temperature. As a rule of thumb, a temperature isa fever if it is over 101 degrees rectally or 100 degrees orally after the child has been at rest for a while.

Children can develop a fever for many reasons. A fever may be a sign of a cold, or a reaction to a recent immunization. One of the most common causes of fever is infection. Children get frequent viral infections during the first five or six years of life.

If you suspect a fever, take your child’s temperature. Don’t rely on feeling the child’s forehead. The thermometer is more accurate than your hand. There are two types of thermometers. The rectal one has a stubby and rounded silver end. The oralthermometer – silver tip is thin and long.

NOTE: NOT ALL DOCTORS RECOMMEND TAKING A RECTAL TEMPERATURE! THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FOR EDUCATION ONLY AND SHOULD NOT REPLACE THE ADVICE OF YOUR CHILD’S DOCTOR: YOU SHOULD TALK WITH YOUR CHILD’S DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ARECTAL TEMPERATURE.

For children up to about three years old, take the temperature rectally. Lay a baby on its stomach, across your knees. An older child can lie on one side with the knees drawn up slightly. Lubricate thethermometer tip with a little Vaseline or other water-soluble lubricant. Then insert the thermometer gently about half an inch into the rectum. Don’t hold the thermometer — this could hurt if the child moves. Instead, lay your hand across the buttocks and support the thermometer between two fingers. Leave it in for three minutes, to get an accurate reading.

When your child is three years old, try an oral thermometer — but don’t pressure the child if he or she resists or tries to bite it. Instead, place the thermometer under the arm and take the temperature. This is called taking the axillary temperature.

Using a dry armpit, place the silver end of either type of thermometer under the child’s armpit and hold the arm tightly against the body. After five minutes read the temperature.

If your child has fever over 100 degrees orally (or axillary) or 101 degrees rectally evaluate your child. If your child seems happy and content and has no specific complaints, there is no need to be alarmed. Most higher fevers do not cause any damage.

Some small children have fever convulsions related to rapid increase in temperature. These are very rare and normally occur before you ever know your child has a temperature. Fever convulsions do not cause any harm, however they can be quite frightening, especially the first time. Remember to stay calm and call the advice nurse immediately.

Treat fevers only if they seem to be causing discomfort. To treat fever, give acetaminophen or brand name products like Tylenol or Panydol. Follow label directions carefully. And do not give a child aspirin or aspirin products. Aspirin has been associated with an illness called Reye’s Syndrome in children under nineteen years of age.

Dress your child lightly, to help body heat escape. Do not bundle up a feverish child and try to “sweat the fever out”.

Always call your pediatrician if your child is less than five months old and has a fever over 101 degrees, or if the fever is present longer than 3 days. You should also call if the fever is accompanied by other symptoms like a bad cough, earache, sore throat, stiff neck or congestion; if there is frequent urination or discolored urine; or if your child has abdominal pain. And, regardless of the temperature level, call if your child looks quite ill.

When you call the pediatrician be ready to give your child’s present temperature and how it was taken orally, rectally or under the arm.

Please remember these key points about children’s temperature:

  • Fever is only a symptom , not a disease in itself.
  • A temperature is a fever if it is over 101 degrees rectally or 100 degrees orally.
  • For children under three, take the temperature rectally.
  • Treat the fever with Tylenol or similar products.
  • Do not give your child aspirin or products that contain aspirin.
  • If the fever lasts longer than 3 days, if other symptoms develop, or if your child acts ill, call your pediatrician.
Tags: acetaminophen, fever, fever convulsions, viral infections, pneumonia, Symptoms, Heat transfer, abdominal pain, immunization, Tylenol

Childhood Immunizations

August 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

This information is on immunizations for children. You’ll learn what kind of immunizations your child should have, when they should be given, and why it’s so important to keep them up-to-date.

Immunizations are given to children to protect them from serious diseases. Many diseases that used to cripple or kill children are now rare — largely because of these immunizations.

Your child should receive immunizations against the following diseases:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough (also called Pertussis)
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella (which is also called German measles)
  • Hemophilus type b or H-I-B (the leading cause of meningitis in children under six)
  • Chicken pox
  • Hepatitis B.

Different immunizations must be given at different times. Some immunizations are given in a series and require periodic boosters; others are given only once. For this reason, your child’s health care provider will give you an immunization schedule. If you miss an immunization, call right away to reschedule.

You will want to keep a record of your child’s immunizations and their dates for school, travel and medical purposes. Also, bring it with you to every well child visit.

Here is what to expect when your child receives immunizations or shots. After a Hepatitis B or DPT shot, your child may be a little irritable, have a low-grade temperature, and have redness and swelling around the injection site for 48 hours. To take care of these minor reactions, give acetaminophen pain reliever drops as directed on the label. If the temperature goes over 101 degrees rectally for longer than 24 hours, call your child’s health care provider.

24 to 48 hours after the mumps, measles and rubella immunization, and after the chicken pox vaccine, occasional side effects include slight pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. Low-grade fever and a mild rash also may occur about a week to ten days later.

In extremely rare cases, children may have more serious side effects. Your doctor can discuss this with you. Remember, serious reactions are extremely rare indeed, but the benefits of immunization are very immediate and powerful. Childhood immunizations have saved countless lives, and spared countless children from serious, permanent, physical and mental damage.

Unfortunately, in recent years, some parents have neglected their children’s immunizations. As a result, we are starting to see increases in diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, measles and German measles. These diseases are returning to cripple and even kill children and adults. We can prevent this completely through immunizations.

Remember these key points:

  • Make sure that your child receives all appropriate immunizations. Immunizations may cause a few mild side effects, but serious effects are extremely rare.
  • Failure to follow through on immunizations can cause serious harm to your child.
Tags: acetaminophen, Immunizations, vaccinations, injection, Childhood Immunizations

Chicken Pox

November 22, 2007 by  
Filed under Education

This information is about chicken pox. You’ll learn what chicken pox is, the symptoms of chicken pox and how to treat chicken pox. Read more

Tags: Chicken pox, Aveeno, acetaminophen, Poxviruses, Viral diseases, Reye's Syndrome

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