Fevers may be caused by viral or bacterial infections such as ear, respiratory congestion, tonsilitis, urinary tract infection, heat stroke, chronic illnesses or bronchitis and are often an attempt by the body to kill off harmful viruses and bacteria within the body. These organisms live at body temperature and when the internal environment raises in temperature their protein structures are damaged and white blood cells are activated to digest them. Some fevers can actually be considered a healing crisis and are beneficial to activate a child’s immunity, burn off wastes and improve overall health. However, fevers in children can be worrying to a parent and it is very helpful to know the best way to allay a fever and at what stage to seek medical help. Most cases of mild fever will burn off within a few days but dont take chances when there is a raging fever, it is best to use common sense, trust your instincts and seek medical help.
SYMPTOMS OF A FEVER
- sweating and a flushed face
- chattering teeth and shivering
- loss of appetite and a general feeling of unwellness.
INFANTS AND FEVER
If a child under the age of three months develops a fever then it is very important to see a doctor immediately. Some other reasons to seek medical assistance are if your child is convulsing or hallucinating, dehydrated, vomiting, has diarrhea or is complaining of a stiff neck. These symptoms may be an indication the fever has progressed past an acute stage and these added stressors may be detrimental to the health of the individual and slow their recovery.
WHAT IS A SAFE TEMPERATURE READING?
Normal body temperature in a child can vary. The average normal temperature values are:
- Oral 36 to 37.5 Celcius
- Underarm (axillary) 35 to 37 Celcius
The best way to take your child’s temperature is with a digital thermometer which can be purchased at the chemist. For children under four years place the thermometer under their armpit (make sure it is dry) keeping the arm tight against the body. For children over four years you can place the thermometer under the tongue (making surethey have not had anything to eat or drink for the past 15 min) keep the thermometer tight under the tongue but do not allow biting.
NATURAL STEPS TO ASSIST A CHILD WITH A FEVER
- Give water to avoid dehydration. Give small amounts of water regularly and an electrolyte supplement may also assist hydration
- Often your child will lose their appetite during a fever. This is a natural reaction as to much food will burden an already struggling system. Don’t pressure them into eating, rather suggest simple, light and mineral rich foods such as miso soup, vegetable juice, vegetable broth or chicken soup
- Dress your child in loose, light clothing and encourage sleep and rest with non constrictive covers
- Hydrotherapy in a warm bath may help. Avoid cold showers as the cold water can cause the body to retain heat
- Homeopathics such as Belladonna, Aconite and Chammomila may help to your child to settle and also assist in reducing heat. The brand Brauer produce a homeopathic remedy called Calm which may be helpful
This information is provided to increase general knowledge about the body, health and natural medicine. Under no circumstances is this advice intended to provide diagnosis or to replace a private consultation with a health practitioner. We encourage you to seek the advice and guidance of a health care professional regarding your symptoms as only a full face to face consultation will provide you with a well informed diagnosis of the condition. Do not use aspirin medications and seek medical attention if a mild fever continues for longer than 3 days.