Thanks to this, we better understand the overall health state of a child. A fever can also accompany physiological (natural to the body) processes, such as the growth of teeth.
With the smallest children, the temperature is usually measured in the anus, or with the use of special thermometers for the mouth or ears. Recently, non-contact thermometers have become popular. These use an infrared beam aimed at the forehead or the chest of a child. From temperature measured in the anus or the mouth, we should subtract 0,5 degrees Celsius for an accurate reading. If we measure the temperature at the armpits or in the ears, the result remains as displayed.
We should keep in mind that toddlers and babies (up to 6 weeks of age) have body temperatures approximately 0,5 degrees Celsius higher – i.e. a temperature of 37,5 degrees Celsius measured in the anus of a toddler can be perfectly normal. On the other hand, it is essential that a fever of 38 degrees Celsius should always mean a visit to a doctor. At such an early age, viruses are not common and the rise in temperature can signify a serious illness. An average normal body temperature is 36-37 degrees Celsius, an increased temperature at 37-38 Celsius and a fever above 38 degrees Celsius.
Antipyretics (medicaments to lower temperature – paracetamol, ibuprofen) should be used with temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius, when measuring temperature in the anus with temperatures above 38,5 degrees Celsius. Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin, Acylpyrin etc.) should not be administered in children up to the age of 15. If the child is refusing the medicament, apply it through the anus in the form of a suppository. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure a calm environment and sufficient liquid intake. High temperatures can be lowered by cool showers or by using various wraps.
Temperatures up to 38 degrees Celsius (if measured in the anus – 38,5 degrees Celsius) do not require medicine to fight it. An increased temperature is a natural reaction of the immune system. Any temperature above 38 degrees Celsius should be lowered especially with small children. This is not only because of the danger of fever cramps, but also due to the fact it can cause exhaustion and dehydration.
This text was prepared by lead pediatrician of Canadian Medical Care, MUDr. Silvie Knoppová.
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