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5 Signs That Fever In Children Requires Medical Attention

The first time that I struggled with a fever in one of my kids, I was way scared. I was a first-time mom, and I clearly remember that day my mother was at home, and I had to ask for help because I couldn’t cope alone with my sick older son and a baby just months old. And then, I received one of the best pieces of advice I had ever received: “Don’t panic, Susan. It will pass in a couple of days”. And then, she proceeded to explain to me exactly what to do to bring the temperature down.

However, as the new mom I once was, I know that fever in children can be scary, and there are many reasons why. First, if the fever goes on for too long or is too high, it’s time to call the doctor. That’s why I have written this article for you, Mom or Dad, in a similar situation.

Let’s start by clearing up the most important doubt of all.

When Should You Worry About a Kid’s Fever?

First of all, as a mom, I can relate that it’s natural to worry when your child has a fever, but not all fevers should cause alarm. You should be concerned if your child has a fever of 104°F (40°C) or higher if the fever lasts more than three days, or if they are under 3 months old with a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. In the first case, fever can be a symptom of illness or even an infection. On the other hand, babies under 3 months have no strong immune system, so he or she are vulnerable to infections.

If this is your case, please stay calm, momma. Keeping a cool head is crucial because you can act quickly and effectively. You can also watch for severe symptoms, such as those described below. 

1. If Your Kid Has Persistent High Fever

If fever in children reaches 104°F (40°C) or higher, you must take it seriously. High fevers can be alarming and indicate your child’s body struggles to be healthy. Even if your kid is playing and seems okay, a fever is the body’s natural response to infection, and it can be dangerous if it’s too high. 

I recommend keeping your child comfortable, offering plenty of fluids, like juice and water, and monitoring their temperature regularly. If the fever remains high, it’s time to call your pediatrician. Remember: it is better to be safe than sorry, and the health of your most precious treasure -your kid- is worth more than anything.

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2. If He or She Is A Very Young Child

As with the previous symptoms, you must be extra cautious when fever appears in young children. Babies under 3 months old are particularly vulnerable because their immune systems are still developing and, in some cases, a higher risk for serious infections like meningitis or sepsis.

Always pay attention to other symptoms your baby might have, such as a persistent cough, trouble feeding, or a change in mood. Trust your guts as a parent; these can be signs that something more serious is going on. It’s WAY better to be overly cautious with babies, especially if they aren’t reaching 6 months yet.

3. When Your Kid Has Other Symptoms Accompanying Fever

When a fever is present with severe symptoms, it strongly indicates that your child needs medical attention and needs it quickly. Some of these severe symptoms can be difficulty breathing, severe headaches, a stiff neck, or persistent vomiting. Most terrifying of all, all are red flags. For example, a stiff neck and headache could point to meningitis or any other infection that requires immediate medical treatment.

In the same way, difficulty breathing can indicate a respiratory infection, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Even some “minor symptoms,” like spots or bruises, can be a warning sign of something more serious, like sepsis. If you notice something abnormal like those signs, the best you can do is inform your doctor.

Don’t wait to see if they will go away on their own. Prompt medical attention can make a big difference in treating the underlying cause and preventing complications.

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4. If You Notice Signs of Dehydration

Fever in children can quickly lead to dehydration, especially if your kiddo doesn’t drink enough water when sick. On the other hand, dehydration can make your child feel even worse, not to mention that it can be dangerous if not addressed. Some signs of dehydration include a dry mouth, no tears when crying, sunken eyes, and, in babies, fewer wet diapers than usual. Big kids might also complain of dizziness or a dry throat.

Encourage your child to drink water, clear broths, or an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte so he or she can keep them hydrated. Avoid soda, as it can worsen dehydration. If your child is breastfeeding, continue to nurse them as breast milk provides hydration and essential nutrients.

Infants and toddlers may be unable to communicate if thirsty, so pay attention to your child’s urine. If it’s dark yellow or urinating less frequently, it’s a sign that your child needs more fluids. Most importantly, keep in mind that dehydration can escalate quickly. If they show lethargy or a fast heartbeat, visit the pediatrician ASAP.

5. When Their Behavior or Mood Changes

Changes in your child’s mood during a fever can be particularly concerning. If your normally active son or daughter becomes unusually sleepy, hard to wake up, or extremely cranky, these could be signs that their body is struggling to cope with the fever. Behavioral changes can also indicate complications such as an infection affecting the brain or severe dehydration.

In babies, extreme irritability or inconsolable crying can also be red flags. 

Also, pay special attention to seizures, known as febrile seizures. While these seizures are often not harmful and usually last only a few minutes, they are very frightening to witness. If your child has a seizure, please stay calm and ensure they are safe. Lay them on their side and clear the area around them. After the seizure stops, go to the doctor to rule out any serious underlying conditions and to learn how to manage future febrile seizures.

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FAQ

Should I let my child’s fever run its course?

It depends. Fevers can help fight infections, but you should monitor your child closely. If the fever is high or your kid is uncomfortable, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce it.

Why do kids spike a fever at night?

Fevers often rise at night due to the body’s natural rhythms. Also, your child’s immune system may be more active, fighting off infections while they sleep.

How long do fevers last in kids?

Most fevers from common illnesses last 2-3 days. If a fever lasts more than 3 days, or if it goes away and then comes back, see your doctor.

How to reduce fever in a child naturally while sleeping?

Ensure they’re comfortable, not overdressed, and in a cool room. Offer plenty of fluids. You can also use a lukewarm sponge bath. Always check with your doctor before trying any new methods.

Tips To Lower Fever In Children If You Still Can’t Go to The Doctor

If you still can’t go to the emergency room and your instinct tells you to act fast, apply these recommendations ASAP.

Give Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen

Always check with your doctor first for the recommended dosage. Do not exceed the prescribed time for the treatment.

Apply Cold Compresses

Focus on the parts of the body where the arteries pass, such as the groin, neck, and armpits. Change the compresses every five to ten minutes. Do not use ice; it can cause thermal shock and be dangerous.

Avoid Rub Your Child With Alcohol

Alcohol, even if it is isopropyl, passes through the pores and can be very harmful. Also, do not use any product that contain alcohol.

Check The Temperature Regularly

Always have a thermometer handy and make sure the fever does not exceed 39 degrees. If it is a baby, the limit is 38.

Conclusion

Fever in children can be worrying, but knowing when to seek help is crucial. Trust your instincts and look out for these key signs. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s doctor. They’re there to help you and your little one stay healthy and safe. 

Don’t worry, momma, you got this. Everything will be better.

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