What is fever?
Fever is a rise in normal body temperature. One's body temperature normally ranges between 36.5 °C and 37.5 °C. Above 38 °C, you've got a fever. Fever is a normal and necessary reaction of your body to fight infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. During a fever, your white blood cells (leukocytes, immune cells) work much more effectively.
Top 10 ways to help kids fight through fever
- Hydrate, preferably with water. Alternatively, try ice pops and good, old-fashioned homemade chicken soup
- If you're breastfeeding, take extra care to ensure your baby is drinking enough. If needed, compensate with water
- Feverish children usually don't have much of an appetite, so don't stress if they don't eat for a couple of days
- Avoid dressing your child too warmly, it can make the fever worse and be counterproductive
- Try warm baths. As water evaporates from the skin, it cools and lowers the body's temperature. Do not use cold water as it can cause chills and actually increase body temperature
- Do not use rubbing alcohol to try to lower the fever
- Use a fan to increase air circulation in their bedroom
- Encourage rest
- Place a cool, damp washcloth on the child's forehead while he or she is resting. Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil can provide a calming effect
- Do everything you can to foster good resistance
Should fever in babies and children be suppressed?
A rise in body temperature paralyzes the activity of various pathogens. Suppressing fever in kids actually works against this natural reaction.
How to support a healthy immune system in children
For children 12 years and up, the immune system can be supported with Echinaforce® tablets or drops. Echinaforce® contains effective ingredients proven to reinforce the immune system. This helps build resistance against bacterial and viral infections. For younger children, try Echinaforce® Junior. It can be taken daily to:
- help strengthen the immune system so that it can react promptly to the first signs of infection
- reduce the need for antibiotics or other medication
- reduce the number of sick days and time away from school
- These tooth-friendly chewable tablets have an orange flavour that kids love and are free of sugar, gluten and lactose.
How high is too high for a fever?
Fevers can run as high as 41°C. However, the intensity of the fever is not directly related to the severity of the disease so don't panic if your children's fever goes this high. Two to five percent of children under 5 with a high fever experience febrile convulsions. Although quite terrifying for parents it is not necessarily a serious side effect.
Still, when a child's fever reaches or exceeds 41 °C (taken rectally), it urgently needs to be brought down. Even though complications are rare, such a temperature can cause irreversible organ damage. It's advisable to call the doctor or go immediately to the emergency ward at the nearest hospital.
When to call the doctor about a feverish child?
Go to your pediatrician or GP if your child has a fever and:
- Is under three months of age and has a rectal temperature of 38.1 °C or higher; a fever can be a sign of a serious infection in young babies.
- Is over three months old and the fever lasts more than three days
- Is over three months old and has a rectal temperature of 38.5 °C or higher and has any of the following symptoms:
- Is drowsy and not easy to wake up
- Moans or cries and cannot be consoled
- Gets a rash during the fever
- Is anxious or starts breathing differently, for instance, your child breathes more quickly or stops breathing for short periods
- Has an unusual complexion (gets pale, bluish or greyish)
- Gets sicker quickly, starts vomiting or has diarrhea
- Drinks much less than usual (less than half than normal)
- Experiences febrile convulsions
- Complains of a severe headache, pain or stiffness in the neck
- Is known to have low resistance or has a disease in which any infection increases the risk to the child's health
- High fever returns after a couple of fever-free days