It’s that time of year!! Coughs, colds, high temperatures seem to be part of winter…
A high temperature also called a fever, is very common in children. The little one will:
- feel hotter than usual on their forehead, back or stomach
- feel sweaty and clammy
- have flushed ( red) cheeks
The First Aid first step is to take their temperature using a thermometer. Currently, the forehead ones are not recommended as that can be inaccurate.
Use under the arm as seen below.
In the under 5’s, if their temperature is 38C ( 100.4F) then there is a high likelihood they have a fever.
When children have a fever, they will need to drink plenty of water, DO offer drinks regularly. If you are breastfeeding, DO offer plenty of feeds. They may be off their food, in the same way, we as adults go off food if we are not feeling well. This is ok, offer food if they want some but there is no need to force them. Just keep encouraging them to drink.
- DO NOT send them to school if they have a fever, and at night DO be sure to check on them. You are checking they have not got any worse in any way, and you may find they need more painkiller as long as they have not exceeded the dose.
- DO NOT SPONGE THAM WITH COLD OR TEPID WATER. It doesn’t help.
- DO NOT WRAP THEM IN EXTRA CLOTHES OR BLANKETS. They are too hot already and wrapping them makes them hotter which could be dangerous.
- DO keep them in some clothes but dress them to help them keep cool, a baby who is hot may be comfortable in their vest for example.
- DO give paracetamol or ibuprofen – but NOT together at the same time. If you find the little one is distressed before the next dose is due, you can try the other medicine but if neither help, you MUST seek medical advice.
- DO NOT keep switching between medicines unless a medical professional advises you too. ALWAYS READ THE LEAFLET THAT COMES WITH MEDICINE AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.
When should you call a doctor?
- If you are worried – YES. Trust your instinct and do not be afraid to insist on a second opinion- you know the child best.
- If they are less than 6 months old and have a temperature of 38C ( 101F) or higher
- If you see a red rash that you can still see through a glass that you press on the rash
- If they have a seizure ( also called a convulsion or fit)
- If they cry and cry and you cannot distract them or comfort them
- If the cry sounds unusual to you- it may high pitch for example
- If they have had the fever for more than 3 days
- If they are becoming more unwell- getting worse
- If they show signs that they are dehydrated – Dehydration can come on very quickly with the under 5’s, it could become serious. If you notice any of the above, YOU MUST GO TO YOUR GP URGENTLY.
- very drowsy
- Fast breathing
- The soft spot ( fontanelle)on the babies head has sunk in
- Dry nappies – or dark yellow pee
- Dry mouth and lips
- Cold and blotchy hands and feet
- No tears
Children can be playing in the morning and be very unwell by the evening. Their health can change very quickly. In the next blog, we will discuss more signs of serious illness and the First Aid actions to follow to ensure their health.
Siren Training offer paediatric first aid courses that give confidence to parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents, professional child carers, babysitters- everyone! Please contact us to arrange a course for you, your family or staff.