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: aspirin products, fever, Symptoms, Thermodynamics, pneumonia

Sinusitis

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

This information covers prevention and treatment of Sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation or infection of the lining of the sinuses.

Sinuses are small air-filled spaces in the bones of your cheeks and forehead. Normally, they drain into your nose through small openings. Sinuses improve the sound of your voice and lighten the weight of your skull. The lining or mucous membrane of you sinuses is similar to the lining of your nose and throat.

Sinusitis frequently starts from simple colds and allergies. Both cause the mucous membrane in your sinuses to swell and secrete more mucus. This natural process can close off the nasal openings to the sinuses. The results–the sinuses become inflamed and irritated. The mucus may become infected with virus or bacteria.

If you have had a sinus infection, you know the miserable symptoms: pressure, headache, facial pain, postnasal drip, fever, thick green drainage, and cough.

Smoking, and second-hand smoke, air pollution, conditions like nasal polyps and diseases like cystic fibrosis may also lead to sinusitis.

Many good health practices are important for a strong immune system. For instance, regular exercise, 8-10 hours of sleep, laughing every day, warm relationships and regular meals with a variety of nutritious foods.

To prevent sinusitis, you will also want to:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of fluid every day
  • Wash your hands regularly to get rid of viruses that cause colds and flu
  • If you smoke, develop a plan for quitting that will work for you.
  • If you regularly breathe in second-hand smoke, irritating fumes, or air pollution, can you reduce or eliminate them? Would an air filter help? If not, work even harder at other prevention behaviors.
  • Use decongestants and antihistamines when you have a cold or allergy. If you have high blood pressure or a prostate problem, check with your pharmacist or physician before taking a decongestant. And drink even more water then you usually do!

Once you feel that your sinuses are beginning to fill, here are some home treatments that will help:

  • Continue with all your good health practices. Find time for extra sleep. If you are starting to feel sick, cut back on your exercise for a few days to give your body a chance to recover.
  • Get hot steam into your sinuses. Try warm showers or drinking hot liquids.
  • Drink even more fluid. How will you know if you are drinking enough for you? Your mucus should stay thin and your urine should be very light.
  • Take medication for headache and congestion.
  • Try commercial or homemade saline nose drops twice a day to wash the mucus out of your nose. If you haven’t tried homemade drops before, ask your Advice Nurse to send you the health note called Saline Nose Drops. It’s important to make up the solution correctly. An incorrect solution can increase irritation.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your cold lasts longer than 10 days and is not getting better; if you have facial pain and/or numbness especially in the sinus area.
  • Your headache is not relieved by aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen
  • Or if your headache is especially severe.
  • Please call him/her if:
    • You have thick, green mucus
    • You have a fever or persistent cough

If your doctor diagnoses sinusitis, talk about your treatment plan. You will probably continue with the home treatment practices. Discuss your questions about decongestants and antihistamines. Also, you may need to take an antibiotic. If so, remember that you must finish taking every tablet in order to reduce your chance of a relapse.

Tags: fever, facial pain, thick green drainage, headaches, Sinusitis, nasal infection

Low Back Pain

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

The human spine (or backbone) is made up of small bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are stacked on top of each other to form a column. Between each vertebra is a cushion known as a disc. The vertebrae are held together by ligaments, and muscles are attached to the vertebrae by bands of tissue called tendons.

Openings in each vertebra line up to form a long hollow canal. The spinal cord runs through this canal from the base of the brain. Nerves from the spinal cord branch out and leave the spine through the spaces between the vertebrae.

The lower part of the back holds most of the body’s weight. Even a minor problem with the bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in this area can cause pain when a person stands, bends, or moves around. Less often, a problem with a disc can pinch or irritate a nerve from the spinal cord, causing pain that runs down the leg, below the knee called sciatica.

Causes of Low Back Problems

Even with todays technology, the exact reason or cause of low back problems can be found in very few people. Most times, the symptoms are blamed on poor muscle tone in the back, muscle tension or spasm, back sprains, ligament or muscle tears, joint problems. Sometimes nerves from the spinal cord can be irritated by slipped discs causing buttock or leg pain. This may also cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs.

People who are in poor physical condition or do work that includes heavy labor or long periods of sitting or standing are at greater risk for low back problems. These people also get better more slowly. Emotional stress or long periods of inactivity may make back symptoms seem worse.

Low back problems are often painful. But the good news is that very few people turn out to have a major problem with the bones or joints of the back or a dangerous medical condition.

Things To Do About Low Back Problems
Seeing a health care provider

Many people who develop mild low back discomfort may not need to see a health care provider right away. Often, within a few days, the symptoms go away without any treatment.

A visit to your health care provider is a good idea if:

  • Your symptoms are severe.
  • The pain is keeping you from doing things that you do every day.
  • The problem does not go away within a few days.

If you also have problems controlling your bowel or bladder, if you feel numb in the groin or rectal area, or if there is extreme leg weakness, call your health care provider right away.

Your health care provider will check to see if you have a medical illness causing your back problem (chances are you will not). Your health care provider can also help you get some relief from your symptoms.

Your health care provider will:

  • Ask about your symptoms and what they keep you from doing.
  • Ask about your medical history.
  • Give you a physical exam.
  • Talking about your symptoms

Your health care provider will want to know about your back problem. Here are some examples of the kinds of questions he or she may ask you. You can write down the answers in the space below each question:

  • When did your back symptoms start?
  • Which of your daily activities are you not able to do because of your back symptoms?
  • Is there anything you do that makes the symptoms better or worse?
  • Have you noticed any problem with your legs?
  • Around the time your symptoms began, did you have a fever or symptoms of pain or burning when urinating?

Talking about your medical history
Be sure to tell your health care provider about your general health and about illnesses you have had in the past. Here are some questions your health care provider may ask you about your medical history. You can write your answers in the space below each question:

  • Have you had a problem with your back in the past? If so, when?
  • What medical illnesses have you had (for example, cancer, arthritis, or diseases of the immune system)?
  • Which medicines do you take regularly?
  • Have you ever used intravenous (IV) drugs?
  • Have you recently lost weight without trying?

You should also tell your health care provider about anything you may be doing for your symptoms: medicines you are taking, creams or ointments you are using, and other home remedies.

Having a physical exam
Your health care provider will examine your back. Even after a careful physical examination, it may not be possible for your health care provider to tell you the exact cause of your low back problem. But you most likely will find out that your symptoms are not being caused by a dangerous medical condition. Very few people (about 1 in 200) have low back symptoms caused by such conditions. You probably wont need special tests if you have had low back symptoms for only a few weeks.

Additional Information:

Tags: low back pain, back pain, vertebra, extreme leg weakness, fever

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