Every child has a fever every now and then. This lasts for a few days before it vanishes. However, what is important is that we should record the temperature accurately.
We as parents and individuals are well aware of the term Fever. Everyone has had a fever in their life sometime or the other. Also, children keep getting a fever from time to time. Though fevers can drain a child, in a way they are good as they are a sign of the body fighting against an infection.
Why Does Fever Happen: All of us know what a ‘thermostat’ is. As per Wikipedia, a thermostat is a component which senses the temperature of a physical system and performs actions so that the system’s temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint.
Similarly, our body has a thermostat situated in the hypothalamus of the brain. The hypothalamus also the thermostat of the body knows that the body temperature should be around 98.6°F/37°C. When the temperature fluctuates, it sends signals to the body to maintain the same. However, in case of an infection, the hypothalamus resets the body temperature to a higher temperature than the normal. This is a phenomenon for the body to fight against the germs causing infection. When the body temperature is high it becomes uncomfortable for the germs to stay in the body.
Causes of Fever: Basically, fever is not an ailment on its own. It is often a sign of other conditions. But certain conditions like infections, seasonal changes, cough, cold and immunisation in children can cause fevers. However, in some conditions, a fever may get worse as well.
How To Take a Child’s Temperature: Although a gentle hand placed on a child’s forehead is good enough to know whether they have a fever or not. However, this does not tell the exact reading. These days digital thermometers are used since they are easy to use and give a quick reading. Also, glass thermometers are refrained from using since they have chances of breaking thereby exposing people to mercury. Some of the best methods to record temperatures when a child has a fever are:
Rectal Temperatures: This is the most accurate method for recording temperature since they are closest to the child’s body temperature. Before the temperature is recorded the thermometer is coated with a lubricant and inserted 1/2 to 1 inch in the child’s rectum. The child should lie facing down. This is apt for children who are 5 years old and younger.
Ear Temperatures: Temperature from the ear is recorded through a digital device which measures the infrared radiation of the eardrum. The thermometer probe is kept around the opening of the ear so that a seal is established. Once this is achieved, the button is pressed and a digital printout is available for the readings. However, this method is not very reliable in infants and children below 3 months.
Armpit Temperatures: In this, the temperature is recorded by placing a digital thermometer in the armpit with direct skin contact. In this method the reading is low, vary too much and not too accurate. However, if one is uncomfortable to take readings by other methods then this method can be used. At least something is better than not measuring the temperature at all.
Forehead Temperatures: For taking the readings through this method, a digital device is used which measures infrared radiation from the temporal artery (artery in the forehead). When recording temperature through this method, the thermometer is moved across the forehead with the scan button being pressed. This method is not so accurate.
Every child gets a fever and they are back to their normal selves in a few days. Getting cranky is quite normal. I remember the last time I had a fever I was equally cranky as my daughter. Do you also get cranky when you have a fever?
Source of Pictures: Google Images
A – Autism
B – Bronchiolitis
C – Celiac Disease
D – Dyslexia
E – Eating Disorders