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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What To Do If Your Child Has a Fever

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There is some medical disagreement concerning the medical need for Temperature control. Some doctors recommend paracetamol to lower temperature others do not. Usually children and adults feel better and function better it their temperature is reduced to near normal

Remember paracetamol is very dangerous in overdoseIf your child's temperature is above 37.50C, give Paracetamol ("Panadol" is a common brand) in a dose according to your child's age - follow the dose instructions on the label and repeat the dose every four hours if necessary.
Do NOT give more frequently.

Place body temperature is 370C. If you take the temperature by placing the thermometer under the arm then add IC to obtain the Internal Temperature.  For example: If the underarm Temperature is 36.80C then add 10C to obtain the internal temperature of 37.80C which is the temperature you act on. If your child's temperature is above 38.50C, give Paracetamol and then a tepid sponge bath: Fill the bath with tepid water (not cold water).

Place the child in the bath and wet the child's head with a face cloth. Continue to run the water over the head and body until your child's temperature comes down to 37.50C or less. This may take 20 minutes or more. Do not leave the child unattended in the bath. Take the child's temperature every 10 minutes while in the bath. If the child is shivering then remove the child from the bath immediately.

Shivering increases internal body temperature. Pat the child dry - rubbing dry also increases body heat. Alternatively, you can just let the water evaporate without drying your child.

If your child has a fit because of the high fever, immediately lie the child on its side - this will protect the airway and the child will not swallow its tongue. Do not place objects such as spoons or fingers in the child's mouth. It is very frightening to see a fit but try to stay calm and keep reassuring yourself it is unlikely your child will have any lasting effects from that fit. It is unlikely epilepsy will follow. However subsequent fits with high fevers are more likely.

If the child's fit lasts longer than 5 minutes, call a doctor or take the child to the Hospital Accident & Emergency or call an ambulance.

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