Fever: how to measure temperature in Children

Fever is an indicator of underlying illness. It is body’s protective response whenever an outside intruder such as bacteria, virus, and parasites enter our body, our immune system produces pyrogens which stimulate the brain and raise the temperature and cause fever.

It is an inbuilt mechanism in our body. Some non infective disease also causes fever. But in children fever is usually caused by infection like tonsillitis, urinary infection, infections, respiratory infections etc.

High fever may cause febrile seizures and dehydration so each parent should know what a normal temperature is. I recommend buying digital thermometers where newborns and children are there. Most of the time parents are worried and doubtful if their baby is having fever so a thermometer comes really handy in these situations.

Some mothers always complain that their baby’s head is always hot. It can be due to many reasons. So to make sure it’s better to have digital thermometer at home.

Measuring temperature in children at home

  • For practical care at home a digital thermometer is best which is inexpensive and easy to use and the result is very easy to read.
  • Axillary (under the arm)temperature of children should be fine for checking the temperature by a parent at home.
  • Axillary temperature by digital thermometer of more than 99F or 37.2C is fever. It is not the reading that is important rather the severity(very high or very low) that is not necessary to add one degree to axillary temperature and the accompanying symptoms that is important. Many doctors don’t prescribe the medicine unless the thermometer reads 100.4 degrees or higher. For new-borns less than 3 months temperature of 100.4 or higher is considered as emergency. Consult or call your as soon as possible

Other ways to check temperature:

Rectal temperature: A reading of more than 100.4F or 38C by a rectal thermometer is considered fever. This is the most accurate for newborn.

Mouth temperature can be taken in older children. It is 0.5C lower than rectal temperature.

Aural (ear) temperature is recorded by aural thermometers this is similar to mouth temperature.

The cost of digital thermometer usually starts from Rs 200. You can buy it near your drug store or also online.

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