It is normal for children to have a slightly higher temperature than adults, especially since they are more easily affected by changes in temperature outside the house. The normal body temperature for kids is around 37°C to 37.9°C. Any higher than that is already considered a fever.
But even when a child’s temperature reaches 38°C, parents should not be quick to panic. Remember that kids will experience a fever sooner or later. And while a rise from the normal body temperature for kids could mean any number of things, chances are, it could also simply mean a slight infection and nothing to be afraid of.
To Call or Not to Call the Doctor
Because the normal body temperature for kids is slightly higher than that of an adult, first-time parents may be quick to panic when they notice a change in their child’s warmth.
Before you rush your child to a clinic, remember that a person’s body temperature changes several times in one day. This means that your child may simply be undergoing a change in temperature to adapt to the rise or drop of temperature in his surroundings.
Below is a list of things to consider before calling your doctor:
- Has your child had a fever for more than five days? If no, then do not panic. This can be completely normal, especially if your child continues to be active and does not seem to lose his appetite. If yes, then call your doctor so he can check if there are other underlying causes for the illness.
- What is your kid’s average temperature? Although the normal body temperature for kids is 37°C to 37.9°C, a slightly higher temperature is normal for children from three months to three years old. A body temperature of 40°C and above is a definite cause of concern though. Call the doctor immediately if this happens.
- Was your child recently immunized? If yes, then a fever should be expected, because this is the body’s way of adjusting to the vaccine. The normal body temperature for kids becomes affected as the immune system works overtime. If the fever lasts for more than twenty-four hours, though, it is best that you bring your kid back to the clinic for a checkup.
- Do you feel uncomfortable? If you are really worried about your child’s condition, then contact your doctor or nurse and tell her about it. It may be nothing, or it can be something equally important. Trust your parental instincts since you know your child the best.
A Note on Seizures
A child who suffers from a high fever may experience febrile seizures. This can come in the form of either intense shaking or jerking movements of different body parts, or simply passing out or becoming unconscious.
Not all children experience seizures (only about 2 to 4 percent of kids under five years old do), but just in case your child is part of this number, below are some things you can do whenever your child has an attack:
- Do not panic. It is best that you have your presence of mind intact so you can attend to your child’s needs immediately.
- Turn your child to his side to minimize the effects of the shaking, or to avoid choking when he falls unconscious.
- Do not put anything in your kid’s mouth. This may only cause him to choke or have difficulty in breathing.
- Call your doctor or nurse, or bring your kid to the nearest clinic or hospital, if the seizure lasts more than five minutes.