When your toddler starts burning up, it’s hard not to panic as fever is often associated as a serious sign that something’s wrong. However, the truth is, the majority of the time, a fever is simply a sign that your toddler is fighting off a harmless infection.
So, what should you do if your little one starts to develop a fever? Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
Taking The Correct Temperature
The first thing you’ll want to do before you start panicking, is to ensure you’ve taken the right temperature. If you’re using a glass thermometer for example, you might want to chuck it away!
This is because glass thermometers contain mercury. If it were to break, your baby and the entire family could be at risk. Mercury is a very potent toxin which is known to affect the spinal cord, potentially cause learning disabilities, and it can affect the liver, kidneys and brain. So, it’s much better to be safe and give it to your pediatrician to dispose of safely.
What you really want to be using is a rectal thermometer. The digital versions tend to be the most accurate. You can use an oral thermometer instead of a rectal one when your child reaches three years of age. Although it might seem easier to use an ear or underarm thermometer, these are far less accurate.
Once you have your rectal thermometer, be sure to dab the end in a little petroleum jelly. It should then be inserted no more than an inch inside your toddler’s rectum. Hold it loosely until you hear the beep. This should give you the most accurate reading.
Do They Have Other Symptoms?
If your toddler does have a fever, it’s important to check if they have any other symptoms. Often, a high fever alone isn’t cause for alarm. If you find they’re acting and playing normally, they’re likely not very ill. However, if they do have other symptoms you may need to take them to the doctor.
The top symptoms to look out for when your toddler has a fever, include:
- A sore throat
- Stomach pain
- Ear ache
All of the symptoms above when presented with a fever, can signal that something serious is wrong. So, if you do notice these symptoms, it’s important to contact the doctor.
What Could Be Causing The Fever?
There’s a lot of reasons toddlers can develop a fever. Many times, it’s actually unclear what has triggered the rise in temperature and it clears up on its own. You may also find your toddler has a fever for a couple of days after they have had their immunizations.
It could also be that your child has simply gotten a little too warm. However, there is a possibility it could be down to illness. If it is illness related, the fever is a sign that the immune system is fighting off an infection. Depending upon whether your toddler has any other symptoms, it could do this without the aid of treatment.
Should You Call The Doctor?
Generally speaking, you should call a doctor if your toddler’s temperature is 103 Degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The only real exception to this is if your toddler has a temperature of 102 Degrees Fahrenheit and they’re displaying other symptoms like the ones mentioned earlier.
However, if you’re worried, you should always consult your doctor or pediatrician. It’s much better to be over-cautious and the doctor is there to ease your worries and determine if there is a problem.
Is Medication A Good Treatment?
Medication can be a good treatment, but you need to remember they’re not a cure. They’re largely designed to make your toddler feel more comfortable. The fever itself is a natural, positive response. So, you’re not looking to eliminate the fever, especially if it’s there because the body is fighting off an infection.
The reason the body increases the temperature is because germs actually thrive at normal body temperature. So, in an effort to eliminate them, the body causes the temperature to spike. Medications can help bring the temperature down a little, but they won’t eliminate the fever completely.
As for which type of medication you should use, for toddlers, Ibuprofen tends to work better. However, if they tend to get an upset stomach, you may be better off choosing acetaminophen.
Over-the-counter medications are also available. However, if you’re giving your toddler Ibuprofen or acetaminophen, you’ll need to read the label to ensure it’s safe to give the medication on top of them. Ideally, before giving any medication to your toddler, you should first seek advice from a doctor. It’s also important to remember not to give your toddler more than one type of medication at a time.
What Other Treatment Options Can You Try?
Medication isn’t the only treatment option you can try. If your toddler is otherwise healthy, you can try ensuring they drink plenty of fluids. Stick to cold fluids like water or juice to keep them from becoming dehydrated.
They should also rest a lot. However, you don’t need to keep them in bed if they aren’t feeling ill. You can give them light snacks if they don’t feel hungry enough for larger meals. Keeping the room a little cooler will also help to make them feel more comfortable. Ideally, you’ll want the room to be around 18 Degrees.
Things you’ll want to avoid include rubbing ice over your toddler’s body or giving them cold baths. Both of these things may seem logical, but they’ll make your toddler shiver, which in turn will cause their fever to spike even higher. Instead, opt for a lukewarm bath and you’ll find it helps to reduce, not increase, the fever.
Overall, fevers aren’t always a bad sign. It could just be your toddler’s body fighting off a mild infection. In this case, a little medication to slightly lower the temperature and plenty of rest and liquids could be all that’s needed to make your toddler feel more comfortable. However, if you are worried, always contact your doctor.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.