It may be hard to believe but your toddler’s fever is actually good news — fevers in toddlers mean their bodies are using their natural defense mechanisms to “burn out” invading infections. Unless your child registers a dangerously high temperature, fever alone isn’t causing for alarm when not accompanied by specific symptoms. But of course, there are some things you can do to ease discomfort while observing other signs which might indicate the need for medical attention.
Fevers In Toddlers | Knowing Tell-Tale Signs & Possible Treatments
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Those Tricky Thermometers
Sometimes, feeling a toddler’s head with your hand to check for fever just isn’t enough. But because little ones are often squeamish about these scary-looking devices, some thermometers work better than others depending on your child’s comfort level. In all, there are four types of thermometers on the market and five potential places to take a temperature.
Perhaps the easiest method to use is placing a traditional, oral thermometer in your child’s armpit. Help them keep their arms crossed for about four minutes while you take their temperature. Adding a degree to the reading will give you the best estimate of your child’s actual temperature but be sure to tell your doctor the exact recorded temperature and the method of administration you used if you need to report it.
If your toddler can handle a by-mouth reading with the oral thermometer, it won’t take quite as long to get the results. Make sure they are keeping the thermometer under their tongue for the most accurate reading.
Although the other methods offer decent approximations of temperature readings, rectal thermometers provide the most accurate results. A child over the age of three may resist this method. If you use a rectal thermometer, make sure the thermometer doesn’t go any deeper than the recommended ½ inch. Hold your child on your lap for the duration of taking the temperature rectally. This will typically take about 3 minutes.
If any of these methods seem like too much for your fussy and feverish toddler, consider a forehead thermometer or ear thermometer which you can find at most drugstores. Both can be a bit more costly than oral thermometers and the accuracy varies but each can give you valuable insight into how serious the fever is.
When to Call Your Pediatrician
Or more importantly, you may have asked yourself, “When should I take my child to the ER for a fever?” Kids are notorious for running high fevers. After infancy, even 103 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t really unusual (although 103 or higher should be reported to your pediatrician). In general, unless the fever is really high or if certain tell-tale symptoms (rashes, vomiting) accompany a lower temperature, you probably don’t need to go to the doctor or emergency room.
According to Mayo Clinic, individual symptoms to watch out for when your child has a high fever include a fever persisting more than three days, a tendency to be listless and unresponsive, frequent vomiting, or a severe stomach ache or a headache. Earaches and sore throats can be signs of infection and should also be reported.
Symptoms which are not alarming on their own but may be significant if two or more accompany the fever, include extreme fatigue, diarrhea, chills, cough, runny nose, or a stuffy nose. These might signal a serious type of flu.
Home Remedies for Fever in Children
While a fever itself isn’t an alarming symptom unless it breaks the 103 degrees F barrier, many parents feel better if they can bring it down. Young ones should never be given aspirin which can cause liver damage but children’s ibuprofen is currently considered safe. Read the dosage directions carefully for your child’s age and/or weight. Your doctor might also recommend you to alternate doses of children’s ibuprofen with children’s acetaminophen so the fever-reducing doses can be administered more closely together without fear of overdose. Both of these children’s products are available in liquid, child-friendly flavors.
One rule of thumb many parents ignore? Rest is better for your child than fever-reducing medicine. So resist the temptation to wake your toddler just to give them medicine.
Beyond that, administering cool washcloths can help lower the temperature, as can lukewarm — but not cold — baths. Reduce stimulation as much, create a relaxing environment, and offer plenty of liquids including popsicles and electrolyte drinks (as recommended by your pediatrician).
Know some home remedies for fever in children in this video by Home Remedies:
Remember: You’re hardly the first parent who has called the pediatrician because you’re concerned about a fever. The staff is trained to listen to worried parents’ concerns and will talk you through taking your toddler’s temperature and determining if he or she needs to be seen by a doctor. When in doubt, it’s always better to call.
Do you have other home remedies for toddlers with fever? Let us know in the comments section below.
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