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Tuesday March 29, 17:04

How to manage fever in children

Fever is a physiological response that can help fight against infection
Fever is a physiological response that can help fight against infection

The child's fever is one of the most frequent reasons for consultation in pediatrics and a source of anxiety for many parents. Erroneously, according to experts who believe that this symptom - defined by a temperature above 38 degrees - is too often treated with medication. To fight against "fever phobia" and help doctors educate families, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published new recommendations.

Beside maintaining a normal temperature, the main goal is to help the child feel more comfortable. Fever is a physiological response that can help fight against infection. Clearly, antipyretics are not always necessary. In fact, none of these drugs has proven effective for preventing major complication of fever in children under 5 years - febrile seizures.

Fever is a symptom, the key is to understand its reason, but systematically eliminating fever is a wrong principle. The only valid reason to bring down the fever, is for comfort.

In practice, the origin of fever is infectious and nine times out of ten often viral. Medical advice is necessary when it remains unexplained. The physician should be consulted immediately if there are signs to suspect a serious illness (eg meningitis) or if the fever remains high, around 39 degrees for more than 24 hours despite appropriate management.

Good habits are not to cover the child, to drink as often as possible and ventilate the room. The wet cloths on the head can be useful because they promote loss of body heat. In contrast, conventional cool baths are no longer valid. It is unpleasant for the young patient and the effectiveness does not last long.

As for drugs, there is no threshold for their use. Three molecules are available in many forms: acetaminophen, anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and aspirin. Most often, the paracetamol is given in first intention. Aspirin is little more popular, because of the risk of a rare but serious side effect, Reye's syndrome.


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