With my warm toddler asleep on my lap, I am in the waiting room with the doctor. Again. In recent months I have been here more often than I love. When the GP enters the waiting room, she asks: "Another fever?" With just a nod I agreed. She takes us to the doctor's office for our turn. We briefly discuss whether we will start with the ENT doctor or with the pediatrician. We decide to go first, because chances are that a pediatrician will also first send us the ENT doctor. My girl has now months more often than no fever and both the GP and I do not know what to do with it. But something has to be done is clear. The GP writes a referral and asks me if I will agree with a short recording of my daughter, just to let me rest. As so often before I indicate that it makes no sense, I will not leave my daughter alone in the hospital for a second, so I still get more rest at home than when she is admitted.
One of the first symptoms
Fever, every parent sooner or later, rarely or regularly, has to deal with a sick child. One of the first symptoms, and especially one of the clearest symptoms, is fever. But what is that really?
When does your child have a fever?
The normal temperature of humans is usually between 36 and 37 degrees. From 37.5 we speak of an increase, from 38 degrees there is a fever. Only above 40 ° C can fever be a real danger, in children over three months. In children younger than three months, contact with the doctor must always be sought.
How do you measure fever?
The temperature can best be measured anally or in the ear. The temperature is often also taken under the tongue or in the armpit, but this is less accurate. For this, respectively 0.3 or 0.5 ° C must be added to the measured temperature.
What is fever good for?
Fever is not a disease in itself, it is only a symptom of a disease. Fever is one of the means that body uses to defeat an invader (virus or bacterium). Viruses and bacteria thrive less well in a warmer environment, so the body increases its own temperature in order to be able to beat the pathogen more easily.
In case of fever, the heartbeat also becomes faster and blood pressure increases. This ensures that immune substances in the blood are transported faster through the body, allowing the body to act as quickly and effectively as possible against the pathogens.
When fever persists for more than a few days, the causer is more often a bacterium than a virus. Bacteria feed on glucose, just like humans do. When you have fever for an extended period of time, the body stops using glucose as a nutrient and uses fats and proteins instead. This is how the food source of the bacteria is also addressed.
It is also because of this that someone with a fever often has no appetite. When you do not eat, you take in little carbohydrates (glucose) and a bacteria is less likely to get nutrients.
How do you treat fever
Moisture is always the most important thing! Provides the sick child with continuous drinking. Because with an elevated temperature, usually worse eating, and sometimes diarrhea or vomiting, dehydration is lurking. And this should always be prevented.
Does not dress the child too thick. Especially with small children, the temperature can quickly increase. And although this is functional, the temperature must be prevented from rising too high. The body must be able to lose the heat. The 'sweating out of fever' is obsolete.
Analgesic and fever-reducing agents
Fever usually does not need to be treated with medication. As described above, fever is not a stand-alone disease and is functional. With the treatment of fever, for example with medicines such as paracetamol, you fight the symptoms, but not the actual disease source. A bacterium or virus is not treated by analgesic and fever-reducing drugs. Because of the fever itself. However, a doctor will often ask first if a child has already received paracetamol. Look especially at what feels good to you. There are no strict guidelines and opinions are divided.
Icing can occur at a very high temperature. You recognize this by incoherent talk, drowsiness, or a reduced consciousness. It is also called a feverish delineation.
Approximately 5% of children will ever have a febrile seizure. This is a kind of epileptic seizure caused by a too fast rising temperature. This looks very bad and frightening. The child is unconscious and has uncontrolled muscle contractions. In case of a febrile seizure, help must always be invoked. Call 112
When to the doctor
As always with the health of a child .... If you do not trust it, contact your doctor!
Usually fever can not be very bad. As said, it is a symptom, not a disease in itself. And fever has many beneficial effects. But, in any case, contact the doctor if:
- A baby (under three months of age) has a fever.
- The temperature rises above 40 ° C
- A child becomes drowsy or no longer responds well.
- If the child has little urine and dark urine.
- The child gets spots on the skin that can not be pushed away with the bottom of a glass.
- The fever lasts longer than three days (and there is no improvement yet)
- With a febrile seizure
The child from the introduction could contact the ENT doctor within two weeks. Another five days later she was urgently operated on her tonsils and eardrums. Since then, things are going better with her.