You should call your child's doctor if any of the following are present with fever.
Although you may have done your best to care for your child, sometimes it is smart to take your child to the emergency department. Your child's doctor may meet you there, or your child may be evaluated and treated by the emergency doctor.
You should take your child to an emergency clinic when any of the following happen:
The three goals of home care for a child with fever are to control the temperature, prevent dehydrated, and monitor for serious or life-threatening illness.
The first goal is to make the child comfortable by monitoring and reducing the fever below 102°F (38.9°C). This is achieved using a thermometer and medications and dressing the child appropriately. A warm water bath can also be helpful but should be used for no more than 10 minutes each hour.
To check your child's temperature, you will need a thermometer. Different types of thermometers are available, including glass, mercury, digital, and tympanic (used in the ear).
Most doctors do not recommend tympanic thermometers, because their use outside the clinic is unreliable.
Glass thermometers work well but may break, and they take several minutes to get a reading.
Digital thermometers are inexpensive and obtain a reading in seconds.
It is best to check an infant's or toddler's temperature rectally.
Hold the child chest down across your knees.
Spread the buttocks with one hand and insert the thermometer lubricated with a water-soluble jelly no more than 1 inch into the rectum with the other hand.
Oral temperatures may be obtained in older children who are not mouth breathing or have not recently consumed a hot or cold beverage.
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are used to reduce fever.
Children should not be overdressed indoors, even in the winter.
A sponge bath in warm water will help reduce a fever.
The second goal is to keep the child from becoming dehydrated. Humans lose extra water from the skin and lungs during a fever.
The third goal is to monitor the child for signs of serious or life-threatening illness.
A good strategy is to reduce the child's temperature to under 102°F (39.0°C).
Also, make sure the child is drinking enough clear fluids (not water).
If both these conditions are met and your child is still ill-appearing, a more serious problem may exist.
Usually, the emergency department doctor will ask that, within the next 24-48 hours, you contact or see your child's doctor or return to the emergency department.
Your child's condition can be further observed at home or in the clinical area.
Any treatment prescribed by the doctor in the emergency department should be monitored for effectiveness.
You should receive information about any tests and cultures performed for your child and follow-up instructions if necessary.
Prevention of illnesses that cause fever revolves around personal and household hygiene. Use these strategies to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria:
The prognosis for a child with a fever is excellent.
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