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Fever in children: Putting your toddler’s fever into perspective

fever in children

Each time my toddler has had a fever in the past, I have been worried. Knowing that she will be fine or that everything turned out fine the previous time does not make it any easier. It is miserable to see our little feeling unwell. For some reason, fever in children is that bit scarier. Particularly when it is toddlers you are dealing with because they are usually so busy and active.

Is it normal for toddlers to get fevers?

Yes, it is perfectly normal for toddlers to get fevers. Just as for adults, fever in children is the toddler’s body’s way of fighting infections. The fever is the body’s way of putting their immune system to work fighting infections.

Toddlers get plenty of infections throughout each year. It is therefore logical that they might get fevers quite frequently too. 

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When should I worry about my toddler’s fever?

If your toddler’s fever hits 39 degrees celsius, you should take them to see a doctor. Also, if your toddler’s fever has been ongoing for more than three days, you should get them checked out by a doctor. 

Finally, if you find that your toddler’s fever is not responding to paracetamol, you should definitely get them seen to by a medical professional.

Fever in children is scary but arm yourself with knowledge about what is usual and what is not. You know your child best. If you feel that they are not their usual self and you are worried, do not hesitate to get them to a doctor. Trust your gut.

READ: How to decide on your kid’s pediatrician

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Should I wake my toddler to take their temperature when they have a fever?

It should not be necessary for you to wake your toddler if they have managed to fall asleep while feverish. They could actually do with the rest. It will help them to heal faster. Your toddler’s body can continue to fight infections while they sleep. If you can check your toddler’s temperature without waking them, certainly do so. 

What should a child’s temperature be?

Normal body temperature for kids is around 36.4 degrees celsius. You might have a toddler whose normal body temperature is slightly higher or lower than this. 

9 Things to do when your toddler has a fever

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  1. Stay calm. Fever in children is worrisome and sometimes stressful. You certainly will not be able to handle your sick toddler if you are feeling the heat yourself. Do what you can to remain calm. 
  2. Send for help. Staying calm might be easier done if you can get some extra hands involved. This is particularly the case if you have other children.
  3. Prevent dehydration. It is easy when your toddler has a fever for them to forget to drink or be too weak and tired to ask for a drink even if they are thirsty. Frequently offer them fluids even if they will only take little sips at a time.
  4. Moderate room temperature. As mentioned above, they should neither be too warm or cold. 
  5. Regular night checks without waking them up. Again, as discussed above, if it is possible to check their temperature without waking them, do so. Make sure they are comfortable and that their temperature is not worsening as they sleep at night.
  6. Lukewarm sponge baths. Sponge baths may help to regulate their temperature but they must be lukewarm rather than cold or hot. They also work best in combination with fever-reducing medicine.
  7. Breathable clothing. This will also help to regulate their body temperature as it will ensure that they do not get too warm.
  8. Paracetamol. This is a medicine that most households with toddlers will have and so it is easily accessible and may help with reducing your toddler’s fever.

READ: What every family needs in their medicine cabinet 

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  1. Keep them happy. Sure, when your toddler has a fever, they are likely to be uncomfortable. However, you know the things that make them happy. These could be a favourite toy, lots of cuddles or even a television marathon of their best shows. Do what you can to keep them happy as those will all help them (and you!) to get through this difficult patch without feeling too miserable! Hopefully, they will not be experiencing the fever for too long!

How long should a fever last in a toddler?

Fevers in toddlers can last up to five days. However, you should always go with your gut and take them to see a doctor if you feel that they are worsening in any way. For example, if they start to vomit or their temperature continues to rise, they should be seen to.

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Should I keep my toddler warm if they have a fever?

It is best to keep as cool as possible when they have a fever. This means that while you should make sure that they are not feeling cold, they should also not be so warm. Contrary to what you may have heard, fever in children cannot be sorted out by getting your toddler to sweat the fever out. If they are too warm, they will only feel more uncomfortable.

How do you cope when your toddler has a fever?

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