Fever is a common occurrence in children; it indicates that the body is trying to fight off some kind of cold or infection. If your child has a fever, he may be warm to the touch, flushed, or sweating, or have chills. Because being bundled in too many clothes or blankets may result in fever-like symptoms, taking your child's temperature is the best and most reliable way to determine whether a fever is present.
Knowing how to use a thermometer to measure your child's temperature is important. Temperatures can be taken in several different places on the body with various thermometers; whichever type of thermometer you use, be sure to read the directions carefully. Almost all thermometers require correct positioning to get the most accurate reading. Although many fevers run their course without medical intervention, be sure to see your doctor if your child's temperature is higher than 102° for more than 24 hours or if the fever is higher than 104°. For infants under 3 months, call the doctor if the fever is over 100.4°.
For a child over 3 months old, you can choose from five different types:
For children younger than 3 months, rectal thermometers provide the most accurate readings, but they can also be used for children older than 3 months. Taking a temperature with a rectal thermometer is quick and easy. Follow these steps:
Although many fevers run their course without medical intervention, call your doctor right away if your baby is under 3 months and has a rectal thermometer reading of over 101.4°. For little ones between 3 to 6 months, any temperature above 101° warrants a call to the doctor. Regardless of age, call the doctor immediately if your baby has a fever over 104°.
Although there is no specific way to prevent a fever, keeping your child healthy is essential. Fruits and vegetables can boost immune systems and fight infection, and proper hand-washing can reduce the risk of sickness. The following steps are some easy ways to treat a fever.
Never give your child aspirin to treat a fever because it can cause a rare but serious disease called Reye's syndrome.
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