What Parents Should Know About Fevers

February 07, 2020

At Right Steps Boutique Preschool & Childcare, we understand the worry and sleepless nights that come with having a sick child. Whether it’s your infant’s first fever or your school-aged child feeling under the weather, it’s natural to feel concerned and wonder about the best course of action. We’re here to offer guidance and support through these challenging moments, providing insights into what parents should know about children’s fevers. Our comprehensive care programs, including care for infants and toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, after-school programs, and summer camp, are designed with your child’s well-being in mind, ensuring they receive the care and education they need at every stage.

What Are Fevers For?

Fevers are not caused by infections themselves; instead, they are the body’s method of killing bacterial or viral infections.

See, bacteria and viruses thrive at your child’s normal body temperature. The body then increases the temperature through shivering, limiting blood flow to extremities, and boosting the body’s energy use.

By increasing the temperature, your child’s immune can create a less welcoming environment for bacteria or viruses.

As your child’s body temperature increases, the infection weakens. This makes it easier for white blood cells and other parts of the body’s immune system to destroy the infection.

Understanding Children’s Fever Ranges

A fever is a natural response to fighting infections and isn’t necessarily something to fear. However, knowing when a child’s temperature is a sign of something more serious can give you peace of mind and help ensure your child receives the right care at the right time.

  • For Infants and Toddlers: In babies under 3 months, a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher warrants immediate medical attention. For children between 3 months and 3 years, a fever reaching 102.2°F (39°C) requires a call to your healthcare provider.
  • Preschoolers and Older Children: With this age group, the focus shifts slightly from the exact number on the thermometer to how the child appears. A fever is considered to be a temperature measured orally that exceeds 99.5°F (37.5°C). It’s important to monitor their behavior, hydration, and whether they’re experiencing any additional symptoms like a sore throat, headache, or stiffness.

When to Stay Home

Keeping your child home from school or childcare is advisable if they’re feverish, not only for their own recovery but to prevent the spread of illness to other children. A fever-free period of at least 24 hours, without the aid of fever-reducing medicine, is generally recommended before returning to school or daycare.

When And How Should You Treat a Fever?

You may be tempted to treat a fever right away, but since it’s a natural part of fighting infection, you do not have to address the fever right away.

Instead, you should focus on making your child feel better. Primarily, ensure that your child is drinking plenty of fluids and resting a lot. Additionally, you can give your child fever-reducing drugs. However, remember that these won’t eliminate the infection; they will simply temporarily reduce fever symptoms.

Avoid external methods such as a cool bath unless your child says it will make them feel better. The cold temperatures will make the body work even harder and expend more energy to keep the body temperature high.

Precautions When Treating a Fever

Treating your child’s fever requires a careful approach to ensure their safety and comfort. At Right Steps, we recommend the following precautions when managing your child’s fever:

  • Assess the Child’s Symptoms: Beyond just monitoring the fever, observe your child for other symptoms such as lethargy, irritability, or a rash. This holistic view of your child’s condition can help you decide on the best course of action.
  • Use Medication Wisely: If considering child medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, ensure it’s appropriate for your child’s age and weight. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label or as advised by a healthcare professional. Avoid giving aspirin to children due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
  • Keep the Child Comfortable: Dress your child in lightweight clothing and use a light blanket if necessary. This can help regulate their body temperature without overheating. Ensure they’re in a well-ventilated room where the air isn’t too dry.
  • Encourage Fluid Intake: Fever can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Water, ice pops, and electrolyte solutions are good options to keep them hydrated.
  • Monitor the Fever: Keep a log of your child’s temperature readings along with the time of day they were taken. This information can be invaluable for healthcare providers if your child’s condition doesn’t improve or if you have any concerns.

At Right Steps Boutique Preschool & Childcare, we prioritize the health and well-being of every child in our care. By sharing these tips, we hope to empower you with the knowledge and confidence to effectively manage your child’s fever, ensuring they receive the best care possible at home and within our programs.

Signs It’s Time for a Doctor’s Visit

Certain symptoms accompanying a fever can indicate serious illness and are a warning sign that it’s time to consult with a healthcare provider. In addition to body temperature, take notice of the following:

  • Persistent fever lasting more than three days.
  • Signs of dehydration, such as not drinking fluids or not urinating regularly.
  • Severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, extreme irritability, persistent crying, trouble waking, changes from normal skin color, rash, severe headache, or a stiff neck.
  • A fever following a recent immunization in children under 2 months old.

At Right Steps Boutique Preschool & Childcare, we emphasize the importance of listening to your intuition as a parent. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and consult with your child’s doctor.

Tips for Taking Your Child’s Temperature

At Right Steps Boutique Preschool & Childcare, we understand that accurately taking your child’s body temperature plays a crucial role in assessing their health. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most accurate readings:

  • Choose the Right Thermometer: A rectal temperature provides the most accurate readings for infants and toddlers. However, as your child grows, an oral temperature reading becomes more feasible and less intrusive. Regardless of the method, always use a digital thermometer for its precision and ease of use.
  • Consider the Child’s Age: For children under 3 years, rectal temperatures are recommended for accuracy. Oral temperatures are suitable for older kids, usually starting around age 4 or 5 when they can comfortably hold the thermometer under their tongue.
  • How to Take an Oral Temperature: When taking an oral temperature, ensure your child has not eaten or drunk anything hot or cold in the last 30 minutes, as this can affect the reading. Place the digital thermometer under the tongue and ask your child to close their lips around it. Encourage them to breathe through their nose, staying still to avoid inaccurate readings.

Our Commitment to Your Child’s Health

We’re dedicated to supporting not just the educational but the overall well-being of your child. Our facilities are equipped with digital thermometers for accurate and hygienic temperature readings, and our staff is trained to recognize the signs of illness and when to recommend that a child be seen by a healthcare professional.

In addition to our standard programs, we offer guidance on preventive health practices and maintaining a healthy environment for all children. From encouraging hand washing to educating on the benefits of proper hydration and nutritious food, we’re committed to keeping our community safe and healthy.

A Partner in Your Child’s Care

Right Steps Boutique Preschool & Childcare is more than just a childcare provider; we’re a partner in your child’s health and education. Our comprehensive programs cater to the needs of children from infancy through kindergarten and beyond, including after-school care and summer camps. We’re here to support your family every step of the way, ensuring your child receives the care, education, and nurturing environment they deserve.

It can be a source of anxiety for parents when their child feels warm, but understanding what to look out for and when to seek medical advice can help alleviate some of that worry. Remember, you’re not alone. Right Steps Boutique Preschool & Childcare is here to offer support and guidance, helping you navigate the challenges of parenting with confidence and peace of mind. Contact us today to inquire about our services.

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