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When do you need to see a doctor for fever in children?

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PT Health Life – Fever is a phenomenon of increased body temperature higher than normal, usually above 38°C when measured orally or above 38.5°C when measured rectally.

Fever is not a disease, but a symptom that signals that the body is fighting an infection or illness.

1. Causes of fever

Fever in children can be due to many different causes, the most common of which are infections such as:

  1. Viral infections: Flu, measles, rubella, chickenpox, sore throat, tonsillitis…
  2. Bacterial infections: Pneumonia, otitis media, sinusitis, urinary tract infections…
  3. Parasitic infections: Malaria…
  4. Other diseases: Allergies, reactions after vaccination, teething, arthritis…
Fever is a phenomenon of increased body temperature higher than normal, usually above 38°C when measured orally or above 38.5°C when measured rectally.

2. When to see a doctor?

Fever is not always a worrying sign. However, there are some cases where you need to take your child to see a doctor immediately:

  1. Children under 3 months old have a fever over 38°C.
  2. Children have fever over 40°C or fever lasting more than 72 hours.
  3. Children have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, seizures, loss of consciousness, and severe rashes.
  4. Your child has a fever with a severe headache, stiff neck, or severe stomach pain.
  5. The child refuses to drink water or shows signs of dehydration such as dry lips or not urinating for 8 hours.

If after 1-2 days of self-care at home your child’s fever still does not decrease, or the fever is accompanied by severe symptoms as mentioned, you should take your child to see a doctor. The doctor will examine and may order some tests to determine the cause and provide timely treatment.

3. How to measure temperature accurately

To accurately know whether your child has a fever or not, measuring the temperature properly is very important. Here are some methods of measuring temperature:

  • Mercury thermometer: Measure in the mouth, armpit or anus. You need to be careful with this method because it is fragile and dangerous if the mercury falls out.
  • Electronic thermometer: Fast and safe, can measure in the ear, forehead, mouth or anus.
  • Infrared thermometer: Usually used to measure on the forehead or ear, fast and convenient, but needs to ensure correct technique for accurate results.

4. How to care for children with fever at home

If your child has a fever but is still alert and shows no signs of danger, you can care for him or her at home in the following ways:

  • Give your child plenty of fluids: Water, milk, juice, and soup are all good for rehydration and electrolytes. Breastfed babies need to be fed more.
  • Reduce room temperature: Keep the room cool, the temperature is about 24-25°C.
  • Wear cool clothes: Don’t wear too many clothes, just dress warmly enough.
  • Warm compress: Use a warm towel to wipe the child’s body, especially the forehead, armpits, and groin areas.
  • Fever-reducing medicine: You can use paracetamol or ibuprofen (for children from 3 months old) according to your doctor’s instructions. Do not arbitrarily use aspirin for children under 12 years old because of the risk of causing dangerous Reye’s syndrome.
Fever in children is a common condition and is usually not dangerous with proper care.

5. How to prevent fever in children

To reduce the risk of your child getting a fever, you can take the following precautions:

  • Full vaccination: Ensure children are fully vaccinated according to the schedule of the Ministry of Health to prevent infectious diseases.
  • Personal hygiene: Teach children to wash their hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the toilet.
  • Proper nutrition: Feed children adequate nutrients to strengthen their resistance.
  • Keep the living environment clean: Clean the house, toys, and places where children often play.
  • Avoid contact with sick people: Limit your child’s close contact with people who have infectious diseases.

Bottom Line: Fever in children is a common condition and is usually not dangerous with proper care. However, parents need to understand the danger signs to promptly take their children to see a doctor when necessary. Preventing fever and infectious diseases is also important to protect your child’s health.

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