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February News from the Nurse

News from your Nurse

February 2017

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 All about FEVERS . . . .

Fevers can be a very scary thing for parents, particularly for first-time parents.  Every child will eventually experience a fever, no matter how careful you are. It is important for parents to know what to do when this happens. 

First, some tips on measuring your child’s temperature:
  • A variety of thermometers are available, from standard oral thermometers the newer temporal artery scanners.  You can use any of these devices, but a digital thermometer is generally all you need.
  • It is most accurate to use a rectal thermometer for infants and young children.  If you feel uneasy doing this, use whichever device makes you most comfortable.  In older children, an oral temperature is most accurate if the child is able to tolerate it. 

 

When to keep your cool

So, what is a fever?  We define a fever as a temperature over 100.4F.   Normal body temperature is 98.6F.  Everyone’s body temperature varies throughout the day and can differ by age, activity level and other factors.  Don’t be alarmed if your child’s temperature varies.  The magic number for a fever is 100.4F.
 
When should you not worry about your child’s fever:

  •           Fevers of less than five days if your child’s behavior is relatively normal. You don’t need to be concerned if your child continues to be playful and is eating and drinking (even if he/she feels more tired than usual).
  •         Temperatures of up to 102.5 F if your child is 3 months to 3 years of age, or up to 103 F if you child is older.  These temperatures can be common, but not necessarily worrisome. 
  •        Low-grade fevers if your infant or child was recently immunized.  These can be normal if they last less than 48 hours.

When to call your doctor

Now for the important question:  When should you be worried about a fever? 
 
Call a doctor when:
  • An infant younger than 3 months of age develops a fever.  Fevers may be your infant’s only response to a serious illness.
  • You child’s fever lasts more than five days.  The cause needs to be investigated.
  • Your child’s fever is greater than 104F.
  • Your child’s fever does not come down with fever reducers.
  • Your child is not acting like him or herself, is difficult to arouse, or is not taking enough liquids.  Babies who are not wetting at least four diapers per day and older children who are not urinating every 8-12 hours may become dangerously dehydrated.
  • Your child was recently immunized and has a temperature above 102F or a fever more than 48 hours.
  • You are concerned.  If you are uncomfortable with your child’s temperature or illness, call your doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss it.

What to do if a seizure occurs

Seizures are a very scary side effect of fevers in some children.  “Febrile seizures” occur in 2-4% of all children under age 5.  Not all seizures cause jerking movements of the body.  Some seizures look like “passing out.”
 
If your child develops a seizure:
  • Put your child on his/her side.
  • Do NOT put anything in your child’s mouth.
  • Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.  If it lasts less than 5 minutes, call your child’s physician or seek urgent care.

What to do about multiple fevers

If your child has persistent or multiple episodes of fever and a pediatrician cannot figure out what is causing them, he or she may refer you to a specialist.  A pediatric infectious disease expert or pediatric rheumatologist may be able to get to the bottom of the issue. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Your 27J School Nurse Consultant Team

Haley, Jessica, Jenny, Kala, Jeannette, Andria, Karen

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