Fever, seems to be the most common complaint of parents in the middle of the night as I work my weekender shifts. The children can range from very ill to very playful. Parents can be very well educated and some not so much at all (sad but true). Lots of education needs to be done about fever, parents for some reason just freak out if their child is running a fever......ekkkkkkk.
By all means if your child is not breathing, in distress, having a seizure, blue in color or unconscious --Please call 911!!! Do not try and drive to the ER!
Most often if a child is brought to the Emergency Department for a fever, the parent has really not tried to do anything at home to first bring the fever down. They just drop everything and rush to the ER...OMG!!
Caution: Now if your infant child is less than 90 days old and is running a temperature greater than say 100.5 rectally (yes in the bum bum- rectal is most accurate) or your Peds doctor will tell you a specific temperature to call for. Please attempt to call your doctor first! They want to be called before you rush to the ER!
Infants less than 90 days old with a high fever is a medical emergency, these little ones still have mommas antibodies floating around from birth. They should not have fevers that high. Be prepared if you take an infant that small to the ER with a high fever that he/she will get a full septic work up which may include blood work , catherized urine specimen's(most sterile collection), xray's, lumbar puncture(spinal tap looking for ?meningitis) , IV with antibiotics amoung the most common things ordered by an ED physician.
Even in older children a call to the Peds doctor first can save you stress, time and the very expensive cost of an ER visit. Not to mention the germ exposure to your other family members.
Many cooling methods can be performed before you visit your local ED or even your doctors office.
First of all, give your kids some medication for fever. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin: if they are over 6 months of age) is made for just that reason, they are fever reducers and pain relievers. You are not going to overdose or kill your child by giving these medications. You can even given them together in appropriate situations, they are metabolized in different areas of the body (kidneys and liver) so it is perfectly ok if your pediatric doctor or the ED doctor tells you to give the medications together for one dose to reduce a high fever, then alternate the medications from then on.
A Fever is the body's defense mechanism for fighting off some kind of process going on, such as viral or bacterial infection. It is ok for your child to have a fever (don't flip out on me now). Fever in the body's natural reaction to a stress reaction going on inside the body. It is trying to fix the problem in its own natural response.
Febrile seizures most often will occur in children that might be prone to these (due to a problem with the temperature thermoregulation). A febrile seizure occur due to a sudden rapid rise in the temperature.
These types of seizures like any seizure activity is scary for us as parents. Keeping your child safe from harming themselves during the event is imperative. Keep the child on their side, away from objects they might hit and do not try and put anything into a seizing child's mouth. Most children outgrow febrile type seizures.
Children can burn up a lot of fluids when they run fever, hydration is important. Don't worry so much about trying to feed them, just make sure they are drinking fluids such as water, electrolyte solutions (Pedialyte/ Ricelyte), coconut water, juices, clear sodas( if that's all they will drink- especially older kids) Popsicles etc.
Avoid dairy products please,unless you want to see the clabbered milk again.....yuck, dairy tends to just make them vomit. I will never forget the time my husband gave my feverish 1yr old daughter a whole bottle of milk just before I got home from working a 12 hour night shift. She proceeded to cover me in hot milk vomit as soon as I tried to pick her up.......lovely it was.
The info-graphic below has some great info about fever, please educate yourself.