A parent’s touch on a child’s forehead is all it takes to know when a baby or a young child has a fever. A thermometer just confirms your suspicions. Children’s urgent care will always involve situations like this.
Most fevers will go away with three days of rest, but it’s a good idea to call the doctor if your child is under 2 months old to 5 years old, is running a very high fever, has symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, and feels very sick or has other complications.
Fever is a defense against infection. Your child’s body is raising its temperature to kill the germs. Children with a fever feel terrible as their tissues are swollen and hot.
As such, they may not want to eat and may seem a bit cranky. Getting your children to rest is the best way to help them feel better, along with giving them plenty of fluids and picking out soft, easy-to-digest foods for them to eat.
The only way for your child’s body to fight off the germs that cause the fever is to rest. That means no school, no playground, no trips to the grocery store, and playdates. If you can, let your child spend the day in bed.
Here are the steps you need to help your child through a fever:
1. Check the temperature
Use a thermometer to check your child’s temperature. It should be taken rectally for newborns, infants, and toddlers. You can use an under-the-arm armpit method or an ear thermometer for older kids.
2. Watch for a Fever
If body temperatures rise to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), then they are running a fever. A fever isn’t dangerous unless it lasts more than 2 or 3 days or if your child seems to have other symptoms, like a stiff neck, a severe headache, or a rash.
3. Give Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen
Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen is okay for 6 months or older children. Ibuprofen can be given every 4 hours up to 6 days.
4. Cool Your Child Down
If a fever makes your child uncomfortable, you can give him a cold washcloth to hold to his forehead. You can also use a hairdryer on a low setting to cool your child’s head.
5. Watch for Unusual Symptoms
You need to watch for unusual symptoms that do not typically come with fever, such as the following:
- Stiff Neck
- Severe Headache
- Rash or Swelling
- Sensitivity to Light
Any of these symptoms should prompt a call to your doctor. If a symptom is especially concerning, call for emergency medical care.
6. Get Lots of Rest and Fluids
Let your child sleep or rest quietly, and make sure he drinks plenty of liquids. If your child doesn’t drink enough fluids, you can use an eyedropper to put them in the mouth.
7. Keep Your Child Home from Preschool or Daycare
If your child is sick, keep him home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. If he has a fever and a severe headache, vomiting, or a stiff neck, have him checked by a doctor.
8. Keep the Germs to Yourself
Tell your child’s caregivers to wash their hands often, especially before touching your child. Your child can’t infect himself, but he can spread the germs to you. When you’re sick, don’t leave your child alone with someone who isn’t immunized to prevent illness. And let your child play with other children, but not if they’re sick.
9. Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if your child has a fever, is uncomfortable, or if symptoms such as a severe headache or vomiting don’t improve after you’ve given your child ibuprofen or Acetaminophen every 4 hours for four doses.
Most fevers are relatively harmless and go away on their own. However, if symptoms do not disappear as expected, call your doctor right away as the fever may be a symptom of something more severe. The critical thing in childcare is vigilance, so it’s better to be on the safe side and know what your child is battling, so it can be addressed right away.
At Your Kids Urgent Care, we offer superior and convenient children’s urgent care in Vestavia, AL. We act as a go-between for a child’s primary care physician and the Emergency Room. When their children become ill after hours or on holidays, parents should not have to face the difficult option of going to the Emergency Room or doing nothing.