High temperature in children worries many parents and family members, so let’s see why the body behaves like that and how to respond to it so that not to harm the baby.
High body temperature is the most typical manifestation of any infectious disease. Body, thus is stimulating itself while developing substances that will compete with a causative agent.
The main substance is interferon. Many people have heard about it because physicians prescribe it very often in the form of nasal drops. Interferon is a special protein that is able to neutralize viruses, and its amount is directly related to the body temperature, i.e. the higher the temperature, the more interferon is made and released. The amount of interferon is maximum on the second or third day after the temperature rise, that’s why most ARIs are successfully treated on the third day of illness. If there’s little interferon in the body, a child is weak then (cannot respond to the infection with the high temperature) or the parents, willing to help their little one, quickly lower the temperature – there’s little chance of ending the disease in three days then. In this case, so called antibodies will surely eradicate the viruses but the disease will last about seven days already.
Every child is unique and tolerates high body temperature differently. There are children who keep on quietly play with 39 degrees Celsius, but others almost faint with just 37.5 degree.
Therefore there aren’t universal guidelines on the necessary height of temperature to start helping. The main thing is the following: when the temperature is increased, you need to do everything to ensure that the body is able to lose heat. Heat is lost in two ways – by evaporation of sweat and by warming the air inhaled.
Two required steps:
1. to drink a lot to be able to sweat;
2. cool air in the room (16-18 degrees Celsius is the best).
If these conditions are met, there’s a very high probability that the body will cope with the viruses by itself.
REMEMBER! When the body directly contacts with cold there’s a spasm of skin vessels. The blood flow is slowed down, formation of sweat and heat loss are decreased. The skin temperature decreases, but the temperature of the internal organs increases. And it is extremely dangerous!
You must not use so called “physical methods of cooling” at home: ice packs, wet cold cloths, cold enemas, etc. It is possible to use them in the hospitals or after the doctor’s visit, because before using physical cooling methods doctors prescribe special medicines that eliminate spasm of skin vessels.
At home you need to do everything to avoid spasm of skin vessels. So use cool air and clothing that is warm enough.
Particles of heat volatilize from the body when the sweat evaporates and thus the body temperature decreases. Some people use several ways to accelerate evaporation. For example, they rub his skin with alcohol or vinegar (after rubbing the surface tension of sweat decreases and it evaporates more quickly) or use a stream of cool air.
BUT! These methods aren’t less dangerous that physical cooling ones. If the child has sweated, the body temperature decreases by itself. And when you rub the dry skin – it is madness, because alcohol and vinegar are absorbed into the bloodstream. Thus, alcohol or acid poisoning is added to the disease. The conclusion is obvious – never rub the skin with anything. And a stream of cool air causes spasm of skin vessels as well. Therefore, if the child has sweated – just change his clothes or a nappy, and calm down afterwards. So don’t try to hasten the natural way of recovery for nothing good will happen as a result.
The higher the body temperature, the more sweat, the more the child must drink. A decoction of raisins is the best drink for the first year old child. For older children – a decoction of stewed fried fruit. Raspberry tea increases the formation of sweat all at once. Therefore, you must be sure that the body has enough liquid to sweat with, and it is necessary to drink decoction of stewed fried fruit or something else before drinking raspberry tea. But in any case you shouldn’t give raspberry to the children under one year old.
If the child plays capricious and doesn’t want to drink what you give him, let him drink any liquid he agrees to drink (mineral water, herbal teas, cranberry, wild rose, currants, etc.). It is better than not drink at all.
Remember, the liquid is necessary in order to prevent blood clots. And any beverage is absorbed in the blood from the stomach only after the temperature of liquid is equal to the temperature of the stomach. Cold beverage will not be absorbed until it is warmed up, a hot one – until it is cooled down. So try to make the temperature of beverage equal to the body temperature (5 degrees Celsius more or less does not matter) .
It happens quite often that a child does not tolerate high body temperature. It is sometimes dangerous for the child because he has any nervous system disease, and a high body temperature can cause convulsions. The temperature over 39 degrees that lasts more than one hour has lots of negative effects.
In all the cases described above (1. intolerance of high body temperature; 2. concomitant diseases of the nervous system; 3. body temperature over 39 degrees) it makes sense to use drugs. But the efficiency of any medication is reduced and the risk of side reactions is increased significantly if two main tasks mentioned above are not solved (the proper fluid intake is not provided and the indoor air temperature is not reduced). Two medications are the best to use at home – paracetamol (better suppositories) and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). But if time and the child’s health condition permit, always try not to make the independent decisions without consulting your doctor first.