This is that time of the year when a young child, who goes back to school after a summer vacation, finds himself/herself prone to fever. When there is a transition in weather, the immunity tends to take a dip and if one child is affected, the other children at school are susceptible to the same infection.
Fever among children is not a life-threatening illness but it does cause many anxious moments for parents. And, once the cause is identified, things become easier. The normal temperature measure in a human body of any age is 98.6F. It could rise to about 100F but it is not really a cause of concern. It is only the body’s way of fighting an illness.
However, when a few metabolic functions of the child go awry, it’s because of the infection. Fever could also occur due to certain medications, drugs and also exposure to heat.
A usually active child could turn lethargic, quiet, fussy, and irritable. The child could cry, sleep, and his/her breathing could also get affected. If the temperature does not come back to normal in 48 hours of treatment with medicines like paracetamol, etc., medical attention is necessary.If the child has a fever associated with some discomfort like pulling at the ears, cough, and vomiting or loose motions, the cause of fever can be identified. In some cases, the physician would ask for some investigations. A complete blood picture will tell if the child is anaemic and whether the white blood cell count is reduced due to a viral infection or is more than normal due to a bacterial infection.
If the neutrophils are reduced, then, it could be a viral infection. If the eosinophil count is raised, it may denote an allergic manifestation. An elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate could suggest an underlying cause of the fever. If the widal test is positive, then, it suggests enteric fever or typhoid. Malarial parasite can be identified in blood screening too. A urine test could show loss of albumin and presence of pus cells or blood cells could suggest an infection of the urinary tract. An X Ray is a oft-done test to reveal any infections like pneumonia or tuberculosis.
To keep the temperature closer to normal, over-the-counter drugs under medical guidance are useful but if the child has symptoms like headache, stiff neck, rash, seizures, swollen joints, pain abdomen, wheezing or unresponsiveness, a physician’s advice is imperative. At home, a tepid water sponging is good while making sure that child has water every five minutes, to prevent dehydration.
Homoeopathic medicine has good remedies. If the fever is associated with nausea and vomiting, Nux vomica, Ipecac, Eupa perf will help; if it is cough, then, Ars iod, Phos have good action. If it is associated with a common cold, Natrum ars, Natrum mur help while throat infection can be managed with Hepar sulph and Merc sol; lung issues can be checked with Kali carb, etc.