They are hot and cold. What to do?
So your child may have not seemed themselves for a while, maybe they are sick but you aren’t sure. Taking their temperature is a good way to check for any rise or fall in temperature away from the normal. It might be that your child has a fever.
Do they appear hot but complain about feeling cold? It’s probably a fever. Below are some pointers on fevers and how to deal with them:
What are fevers?
A fever is what happens when the human body’s temperature is raised above the normal level, by an internal “thermostat”. The brain contains this thermostat in a place called the hypothalamus.
This area of the brain knows the correct usual temperature that your body should be at (approximately 98.6°F/37°C), thus sends messages to your body to maintain the temperature.
The majority of people have slight fluctuations in their body temperature as the day goes on: However, usually it’s typically slightly lower in morning times and a little higher then around evening times. This does vary though as children play, run about and exercise throughout the day.
As a response mechanism, in times of infection, an illness, or other causes, the brain will effectively reset the thermostat. So why does it do this? Medical research suggests that turning up the body’s heat is answer to fighting off germs that may be causing an infection and by changing the germs environment, effectively starving them out.
Though it can be a frightening experience when your child has a high temperature, a fever itself causes no real harm and can actually funnily enough, be a good thing for them because it is often the immune system’s way of fighting off infections.
Some symptoms/signs to look out for
If your child is:
- feeling uncomfortable
- warm to touch
- looks flushed
- is sweaty without exerting much energy
How to deal with fevers
As a start, for careful monitoring and care, keep your child away from childcare or school until their temperature returns to normal for a full day.
Here are some of the ways you can relieve the symptoms of fever:
- Give your child plenty of fluids, avoiding
- Have them dress in light clothing and cover them over in a light blanket/sheet.
- Allow your child to eat what they want
- If your child presents symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, then you should ask your family doctor if you can give them an electrolyte solution for children (this rehydrates them).
- Plenty of rest is important.
Important note: If your infant is below 3 months and they have a temperature of at least 100.4°F (38°C) or greater, then you need to seek medical help.
Prevention is better than cure!
In general, fevers are more or less unavoidable. The important point to note is to try to make your child feel as comfortable and give them as much love and attention as possible until their fever passes. If symptoms persist, then seek medical assistance.