Babies and toddlers are some of the most precious beings on this planet. They are adorable, cuddly, and can light up any room with their infectious giggles (and sometimes chipmunk-style cheeks). However, as much as we love these tiny humans, they do get sick from time-to-time. One common ailment that parents often worry about is fever.
Fever in children can be scary - but knowing what temperature it becomes a risk to their health helps avoid panic situations that result in unnecessary hospital visits. In this article, we'll dive into what is considered a high fever for babies and children (not to mention why you should leave your own thermometer readings to doctors).
A Quick Reminder
Before we delve into high fevers, here’s a quick reminder of what a normal body temperature looks like:
Adults: 36°C (97°F) – 37°C (98.6°F)
Children aged three months to three years old: 36°C (97°F) – 38°C (100.4°F)
Children aged four years onwards or older: up to 37°C (98.6°F)
Now that we know what's normal let's look at how high is too high.
The Different Types of Fever
Fevers come in two types; low-grade fevers which range from <38℃ (~101℉), and higher fevers ranging from >39℃ (~103℉).
The majority of baby's higher temperatures would be classified medically as “low-scale”, while anything exceeding around 40° C should induce immediate concern requiring professional medical help.
How Does Body Temperature Work?
Without getting nerdy or making things complicated (FYI - I'm feeling dangerously geeky today!), let us take just one minute over "thermoregulation" - the process by which our body tries to maintain a normal temperature range under various conditions.
Our internal thermostat is situated in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. This part of the brain releases chemicals (prostaglandins) that cause thermoregulation in response to infections or surrounding temperatures to raise/drop your heat level when needed.
What's Considered High for Infants?
Infants are defined as babies who are under three months old. Because they're so youthful, infants require particular care and attention (and lots of extra cuddles and kisses).
When it comes to infant fevers, parents should be extra careful because these tiny humans have immature immune systems that might not be efficient enough at combating germs independently.
As such, anything over 100.4°F (38℃) for toddlers under two months needs urgent medical attention even though it can seem quite low! Hence any slight increase above normal levels within this stage requires instant assessment by a doctor.
If your child has a fever but seems fine otherwise with no other signs/symptoms suggestive of an underlying infection [e.g., Irritability; Vomiting; Diarrhea], don't hesitate just yet: teething may lead them having fevers too!
When Does Fever Become Worrisome For Children Aged Between Four Months And Five Years?
After four months till five years old, kids' bodies develop further-and-they become more robust against microbes they face daily (yay!!) However fever within these ages must still be taken seriously if symptoms last beyond one day without subsidence after medication/ rest:
Any slight elevation above usual levels warrants proper investigation/professional medical advice
Temperatures exceeding 'low-scale' ranging between 101°F -102°F let alone those >102 Fahrenheit need monitoring closely even with antipyretic(kicks down elevated temps medications).
When Is a Fever Worrisome for Children Aged Six and Above?
For children six years and older, their bodies are mostly able to fight off germs without any complications. Any fever at this stage should typically be evaluated based on what is the likely cause (like heat exhaustion, intense exercise or simple viral infections).
If the fever persists after medication plus other symptoms such as respiratory distress or abnormal pains reporting to health professionals may become necessary.
What Should You Do if Your Child Has a High Fever?
First things first - keep calm! Easier said than done I know (but you got this)!! Most fevers caused by usual illnesses like colds/flu won't need medical intervention because sometthing as simple as getting plenty of rest will reduce these fevers naturally before medicine ever gets involved!
However, if your child’s temperature starts becoming high enough (39.4°C+ / 103°F+) while showing no sign of recovery even after antipyretic drugs administration-their body is more likely fighting influenza virus that may eventually cause additional issues such seizures/dehydration.
Therefore: seek professional intervention/a check up immediately.
Opt-out from covering your little one in layers keeping them cool instead
Use lukewarm water sponging/or baths to bring down added temperatures following advice from healthcare professionals
Ensure they're taking fluids regularly/closely monitor urine output levels since dehydration worsens under severe fevers;
Whatever you do, DO NOT:
Give over-the-counter medication intended for adults!(even though it might feel tempting);
Put your child in an ice bath or something equivalently extreme;
In conclusion; If you have concerns regarding the fever's persistency don't hesitate going to nearby health facilities where trained practitioners would advise accordingly/take over coordinating further procedures/treatment plan options needed for recovery.