SOME EARLY SYMPTOMS CHILD
One of the most frightening situations parents face is the child who suddenly runs a high temperature. It often happens in the middle of the night and parents wonder whether to call out their overworked doctor or go it alone and hope they dont damage their child by delaying unnecessarily in a serious illness.
On the whole, a fever is a sign that a child is fighting an infection and building up resistance to it. The degree of the fever is not necessarily an indication of the severity of the infection, although a very high fever can cause complications such as convulsions.
How to tell if a child has a fever. Even before your child has complained of feeling ill you may notice that she is behaving differently. Perhaps she is flushed and has gone off her food. Feel her forehead – if she feels hotter than normal, take her temperature. Shivering and feeling cold may occur just before the temperature rises. Sometimes a childs skin may feel cool to the touch even though she has a fever. This is because her body is working hard at lowering the fever by sweating, so that the surface of the skin becomes cool. She may be flushed with an unusual redness in her cheeks or she may be unusually pale.
A temperature that is below normal can sometimes mean the child is ill.
Taking a childs temperature. A babys hands and feet usually feel cool to the touch, so feel her forehead to gauge if she has a fever. One of the new plastic strips that are placed on the forehead can tell you quickly if your child has a temperature simply by the change in colour on the strip. Although not precise, they are useful as an indication of whether your child has a fever, particularly in a small baby when it is tricky to take a temperature with a glass thermometer.
There are three places to take the temperature with the usual glass thermometer: in the rectum, in the armpit and under the tongue. To take a rectal temperature use a thermometer with the word stubby on it. This has a shorter stubbier silver end than an oral thermometer which has a longer, more pointed silver end.
To shake down a thermometer. Hold the thermometer firmly at the glass end (not the silver end) and shake it with a few quick flicks of the wrist. Check to see that the mercury (the greyish liquid that moves in the centre of the glass) is down below the line for normal – 36,6 °C.
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