The fall marks the time when millions of children nationwide go to school for the first time after a summer of fun. It is also the beginning of the cold and flu season which can be a scary time for many parents.
Since the social distancing and mask requirements have been relaxed just about everywhere, many children are going to be exposed to germs that may make them ill. Flu, RSV, Covid-19 (Tridemic) are on the rise.
When ill, children develop many symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough, or even a fever. A fever is a sign or that your child has been infected with something that is harmful to their body. It is typically classified as a body temperature of 100.40F or 38.00C. This is often the scariest symptom for parents because there are many things that may cause the fever. You may notice your child being fussy, extremely tired, sweating or less active.
It’s best to keep a really good thermometer on hand and get used to using it. For babies, a rectal temperature is the most accurate but if you are uncomfortable in doing so, forehead thermometers are also a good option.
The good news is that fever (as a symptom) can be managed. There are over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Children’s Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Children’s Advil) that are very helpful in reducing fevers. It is important that you do not give Aspirin of any kind to your child as it puts them at risk for a serious illness. There are other ways to make your child comfortable such as removing layers of clothes and providing them with enough fluids to keep them hydrated. If their temperature does not go down after a day of medication, rest, and comfort, it is important that you take them to a medical provider.
Remember, a fever is a symptom of infection and not an illness in itself. If your child is 3 months old or younger and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, you should seek medical care right away. If their temperature increases to 104°F at any time, they should be taken to a healthcare provider immediately as well.
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