A child has a fever when the body temperature rises above 38 degrees Celsius. Normal body temperature is between 36.5 and 37.5 ° C. We speak of an increase when the body temperature is between 37.5 and 38 degrees Celsius. When the fever is very high, above 42 degrees Celsius, hyperpyrexia is discussed. Fever is a phenomenon and a natural reaction of the body to an infection or disease. It is usually caused by viral or bacterial infections, for example infections of the ears, throat or airways. Sometimes fever can even be caused by medication.
Usually fever promotes the healing process. The temperature can rise to 41.8 degrees Celsius. Often the temperature in the evening is 1 degree Celsius higher than during the day. If the body temperature rises very suddenly, chills usually start. If this fever drops again, the body will lose the heat by perspiring. The rise and fall of the fever is called a fever peak. There is talk of periodic fever, when the temperature rises in a wavy pattern and decreases again.
The most reliable way to measure fever is in the anus. A digital or mercury thermometer can be used for this purpose. Measurements in the mouth or under the armpit do not give a reliable result. Ear thermometers also do not always give a correct result, but are safe to use.
Treatment of fever
Fever (when it is not too high) certainly does not always have to be treated. It is important to allow children to rest sufficiently and let them drink a lot. Keep the room cool and give the child, for example, loose pyjamas. Fever can cause headaches and / or muscle pain. You can give your child a paracetamol (suppository) for this, after consultation with the (assistant of the) GP. Please read the instructions in the packaging carefully first. Babies under the age of 3 months are not allowed to take paracetamol.
Children should never receive aspirin without medical advice. Aspirin can lead to the rare but severe Reye syndrome that can lead to acute liver damage.
When calling with the doctor
Children's body temperature rises faster than an adult's. It is very important to pay close attention to additional symptoms and whether the child seems very ill. In any case, always call the doctor if you are worried, if the fever does not decrease within 3 days, or the following symptoms occur:
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