Hot Heads: the Causes of High Fever in Children
Summary and overview of fevers
Nothing can be scarier to a parent than when their child gets a fever, and when that fever starts to climb, fear can often turn to panic and anxiety because they believe that signs of high fever in children are usually an indication that a serious illness or virus is present. However, although a high fever in a child can be dangerous, it is rarely life threatening or needs a doctor’s intervention. Most fevers are caused by common childhood ailments and can be treated at home by the parents in a number of ways. Parents should also remember that a fever in itself is not an illness, but a symptom of an underlying problem.
What causes high fevers
There is no one temperature that is considered the standard for high fever in children, but in most cases, any temperature over a hundred and one should be a cause for concern. When kids get sick, they will present with other symptoms other than a fever, or the fever will start to show itself right before other signs of illness do, such as a cough, a runny nose, or lethargy. As a fever rises, children will grow irritable, their skin may flush and feel hot to the touch, and they will be sluggish or fatigued. Some fevers burn themselves out in a matter of hours, but if they persist, then parents should take immediate action, especially if they climb past a hundred and four. A number of different illnesses can cause sudden and high fevers, such as the flu, bacterial infections, and certain viral strains. Some fevers can appear out of nowhere and then be gone just as quickly with the child having no other signs of illness. In infants, teething can cause fevers, as can chronic ear infections. High fever in children can be more dangerous when it presents in infants, as they can dehydrate very quickly, which can be serious or even fatal.
Treating high fevers
Treating high fever in children can be done from home, as long as the fever does not burn out of control or has lasted consistently for more than forty-eight hours. Over-the-counter medications for children can lower fever quickly and effectively and allows the child to rest easier. Cool baths can also lower a fever, but care must be taken that the water is not too cold as to cause shock. Even a lukewarm soak can help treat a fever, as long as the child is thoroughly dried and kept warm after he or she is taken out of the tub. Lightweight clothing will also help feverish children feel cooler, as will cool compresses applied to the forehead. Some pharmacies carry compresses that have a cooling, sticky material on them that allows them to be adhered to the forehead and contain no medicine so that they can be used in tandem with fever-reducing medicines. Above all, the child should be kept well-hydrated with water, juices, and electrolyte drinks. If vomiting and fever are present, parents should be especially vigilant about controlling dehydration. High fever in children can be a cause for concern, but most are a side effect of a virus or infection and burn out within a day or two.