October 7, 2015

Fever burning…..ABC’s

We all know the feeling of getting home from work, and your angel (now not so angelic!) is fussy, not really keen on dinner and clings to mom more than usual. You know something is cooking, and brace yourself for a potentially rough night. I don’t have a particular story for this one, since it’s happened so many times and all blurred into one memory of dread! I hear Grans voice saying, ‘give her some medicine’ (after putting a hand to her forehead).

Far too many of my patients tell me their child had a fever, but never measured it. This is important not just for assessment, but also monitoring improvement.

Fever is defined as body temperature >37.9 deg C. It is a symptom and not the illness, so try not to panic and calmly monitor the child’s activity level/level of consciousness.

When to seek medical assistance:

  • Lethargic or unconscious
  • Convulsions
  • Inconsolably irritable
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Stops drinking
  • Signs of dehydration (sunken soft spot, dry mouth, crying without tears, significantly fewer wet diapers)
  • Stiff neck or pain in the back of the neck
  • Babies aged 0-3 months
  • Fever >48 hours
  • Development of rash
  • Worsening condition

See part 2 for Do’s and Don’ts of managing fevers at home