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Fever

Friday night we tucked David into his crib and Darren sat down to finish up some things from work while I curled up under the covers to read the December issue of Parents magazine that arrived earlier in the week.  I am a big fan of the magazine and love their articles.  This month’s issue had an article on “Fever Fears” addressing concerns when fever strikes and providing advice on what to do other than panic.  I read the article knowing that the winter months are coming and it is inevitable that David would eventually catch something.  No sooner than I finished the article, we started hearing David cry from his crib.  This is highly unusual for him as he is a wonderful sleeper.  We went in and the little guy was burning up.  His face was flushed, his body extra warm.  I quickly pulled out the thermometer to see what was going on.  I prefer the rectal thermometer because it is a much more accurate reading and with a little guy, knowing just what your dealing with is most important to us as parents.  Less than 10 seconds later, there it was, a fever of 102 staring us in the face and a sad, unhappy, and glum little patient.  We took turns cuddling him on the rocker throughout the night providing as much comfort as we could until the tylenol worked its magic.  Darren and I each reread the article from earlier to be sure we were doing everything we could since it was the middle of the night.  By morning however, David’s fever was back up and we whisked him to the doctor.  Thank goodness for weekend hours!  After an hour of examination – ears, throat, nose, and urine, everything were ruled out and the doctor diagnosed him with a viral infection that needed to burn itself out.   She recommended alternating doses of infant Tylenol and Motrin to bring down his temperature which spiked to 104.5 at one point.  That number certainly rattled me and Darren but David was a real trooper and took it all like a little champ.  By the time bedtime approached his fever was at a more comfortable level (for us anyway) and he went to sleep.  This morning things were much better and he seems to be on the mend.

Fever rattles all parents so if you are first time parents like we are, you would find this article helpful and comforting.   I tried to find the link online but haven’t been able to locate it.  But I’ve summarized some highlights from Leslie Gross Klaff’s article for anyone that is interested:

  • First response based on age:  call the doctor for anything above 100.4 for a child less than 3 months old.  Between 3 and 6 months, call the doctor for a fever of 101 or higher.  And if your child is older than 6 months you can safely wait until fever reaches 103.  If you are like me though, that was too high to wait for and we called sooner.
  • Fever is a sign that something is wrong.  The body is fighting off an infection whether it is bacterial or viral.  Low grad fever with sneezing or coughing is generally a common cold where higher fever can mean the flu or H1N1.  Flu often strikes out of the blue and hits you like a ton of bricks.
  • All children who have fever should be fever free for 24 hours without using fever reducing medicine or else they should stay home.   In my opinion, too many parents do not do this and it is very frustrating for those of us trying to keep our kids healthy.
  • A fever with pain associated such as a sore throat, ear or difficulty urinating should also warrant an immediate call to the doctor.  Antibiotics might be required.
  • Rush to the ER if your child experiences shortness of breath, cries inconsolably has difficulty walking or develops a rash.
  • Call 911 if your child is blue or has a stiff neck or severe abdominal pain.
  • Tips for cooling your child off:  a luke warm bath, cool compress and Tylenol or Motrin (if your child is old enough).
  • Keep your child hydrated – water, ice pops, jell-o, pedialyte.
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