The key symptom in most serious childhood illnesses: fever!
Cold and flu season can be a trying time for everyone, especially if you are a parent. As a parent your top priority is your child. You are the primary caregiver, and are therefore the one accountable for protecting them and their health as best as possible.
It can be a very frightening situation when you realize that your child doesn't just have the sniffles, but rather a full blown illness from God only knows where. You may be beside yourself trying to read the signals; and when a child is unable to communicate or talk to you about what he or she is feeling, you stress even more. The inability to decipher the basis of high fevers in children can leave you feeling completely helpless.
When Is It Time to Call a Doctor?
You cannot always prevent your children's illnesses; but you can equip yourself by researching an assortment of common illnesses that are associated with high fever in children. Once armed with the foresight and knowledge of a medical professional, you will be able to relax a little, and not feel so overwhelmed and unprepared, when child illness does occur. The following paragraphs should be able to aid you in your beginning stages of research.
A majority of you out there have probably heard that it is normal for children to have higher fevers than adults, and is therefore nothing to become alarmed over. Be careful with this assumption, for it is not true for every case. For example, a high fever in children under the age of two months can be very serious, and the infant can in fact be much more ill than he or she may appear.
Ear infections can also be a common cause for high fever. It is unfortunate that such and infection is one that will not go away by itself and usually requires antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics are not selective in their attack as they kill off both the good and bad bacteria; therefore further weakening your child's immune system in the long run, leaving them susceptible to more ear infections and other sicknesses. There is something you can do to protect your child from this; and that is giving them probiotics during and after their treatment of antibiotics. Found at any health food store, these probiotics will help to cultivate and promote the good bacteria in your child's body, giving them a better shot at dodging a cold or ear infection the next time around.
Signs of the Flu in Children
Another instance requiring a call to the doctor is when the problem could be something more severe than a common cold, and possibly as serious as one of the new strains of influenza. Be on the look out for flu symptoms as children are in the high risk group. This means the flu for them, if not treated early enough, has the potential to be seriously debilitating if not fatal. Although some children may not be able to keep anything down or may feel constantly nauseous, this is not necessarily the only tell-tale sign of influenza. There are, however, telling signs which include, but may not be limited to the following:
- A very high fever of 104 or greater
- Chills and fever
- A hacking, dry cough
- An aching body
- Intense fatigue
- Sore Throat
The cases above should warrant an immediate call to the doctor. If it is after hours for your pediatrician's office, almost all of them have a 24/7 answering service where you can talk to an on call nurse. You tell them the symptoms your child is exhibiting, and they will give you instructions on what to do. Most likely, the flu-like symptoms or the high fever in children under two months old will result in a recommendation to bring your child to the emergency room immediately. The adage "It's better to be safe than sorry" most certainly rings true in those situations.
Fever, though often having a negative connotation is simply a sign that the body is actually fighting off an infection, which means that its working as it should. Therefore, the good news is not all cases of fever in children are serious, just something to monitor closely. Fortunately, high fever in children is an easily decipherable symptom; it's difficult not to be able to tell if your child feels as though they are burning up. As long as its causes are not a result of any of the aforementioned reasons to call the doctor, then it's probably safe to say that it's just a matter of riding it out, assuring both yourself (silently) and your child that sicknesses don't last forever and they will soon be well.