It is normal for children to catch infections that cause fever. Most fevers run their course, irrespective of treatment, and most children tolerate fever well. However, having a sick child at home is not a pleasant situation for any parent. Here are some safe ways of lowering your child’s temperature during fever.
- Rest: The immune system consumes a lot of energy when fighting an infection. Rest and sleep allow the body to recover the energy spent in this process. Rest also helps to prevent dehydration.
- Comfortable environment: A comfortable environment is essential for a sick child to rest and recover. Put your child to bed dressed in light clothing and keep the room temperature cool. Unless your child is shivering, cover him only with a light blanket. But if your child starts shivering or complains of feeling cold, give him an extra blanket. Also, change his clothes if they get wet due to sweating. Do not overdress your child, as this prevents the body from cooling down and raises the temperature.
- Plenty of fluids: Fluids play a very important role in managing fever. Not only do they prevent dehydration caused by sweating, but also help in keeping the body cool. You can give your child water, juice, clear soup or popsicles but do not give sports drinks, especially to babies and toddlers. Giving fluids can be tricky if your child has an upset stomach, but giving even a few teaspoons of water every few minutes will help.
- Cold compress and sponge bath: Dip a washcloth in cold water and apply it to the forehead, wrist and groin where blood vessels are close to the skin. This will help in cooling the body. A bath in lukewarm water will also help in bringing the temperature down. But before bathing your child in lukewarm water, ensure that the water is at the correct temperature. If the water is too warm, it can raise your child's body temperature, and if it is cold, it can cause him to start shivering.
- Medication: Seek your paediatrician’s advice on fever management. Your paediatrician may recommend giving your child either ibuprofen or paracetamol.
When your child is suffering from fever, it is very important to keep checking his temperature. Although temperature can be taken by placing the thermometer in the mouth, rectum, or the axilla, the axillary method is considered the safest in young children.
Remember, a high temperature is not necessarily an indicator of the degree of sickness. In fact, how your child acts is the most accurate indicator of how ill he may be. But if your child is less than two months of age, take him to see a doctor even if the fever is mild.
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