When your child is not feeling well:

One of the biggest misconceptions in healthcare today is the role of fevers. Fevers are the body's way of fighting infections ( (viral or bacterial). Many parents think that they are doing the right thing by rushing for medication to try to 'break' the fever when it strikes, but in fact, this is doing a lot more harm than good. Studies have found that aspirin and other fever-reducing medications suppress the production of antibodies, thus resulting in the infection lasting for up to 50% longer than it should.

On average, a body temperature of 98.6F is considered 'normal.' This doesn't take into account the fact that children are generally warmer than adults. Recent exercise, dressing too warmly, consuming hot foods, and even the menstrual cycle in teenage girls can cause the body temperature to rise by a degree or two.

Fevers tend to hit their highest point in the late afternoon, so if your child's body temperature is slightly higher than normal at that time, it is no cause for panic. But if your child awakens and has a low-grade fever, you may want to encourage him/her to stay at home and get some rest, so that the fever can do its job of fighting any infection which may be present.

Causes of fever most commonly include infections, dehydration, vaccinations, medications,  juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation and teething in infants.

There are however times when medical attention should be sought for high fever. These include fevers in children younger than 3 months, who have a fever of more than 101.0 F. (While waiting for medical attention, try to breastfeed the infant, as mothers' milk contains natural antibodies made at the breast as it comes into contact with the pathogens in the baby's mouth.) Medical attention should also be sought for children between 3 months and 3 years old, who have a fever higher than 102.2F, and for anyone who has a fever higher than 104.5F.

The best course of action regarding fever treatment may be to seek out natural or homeopathic remedies, as these are far safer and pose little to no risk with regards to dangerous side-effects. Over-the-counter medications have been known to cause more harm than good to children.

What can be done to make children feel better during these times is to ensure they get plenty of rest and clear liquids. Avoid sugary liquids (sodas, fruit juices), and foods as these can significantly suppress the immune system's ability to fight the infection  Try not to force them to eat, as they will eat when they are ready. An excellent home-made chicken broth will suffice, as it is easily digestible.



How to take a temperature

For kids younger than 3 months, you'll get the most reliable reading by using a digital thermometer to take a rectal temperature. Electronic ear thermometers aren't recommended for infants younger than 3 months because their ear canals are usually too small.

For kids between 3 months to 4 years old, you can use a digital thermometer to take a rectal temperature.

For kids 4 years or older, you can usually use a digital thermometer to take an oral temperature if your child will cooperate. However, kids who have frequent coughs or are breathing through their mouths because of stuffy noses might not be able to keep their mouths closed long enough for an accurate oral reading. In these cases, you can use the tympanic method (with an electronic ear thermometer) or axillary method (with a digital thermometer).

To take a rectal temperature: Before becoming parents, most people

cringe at the thought of taking a rectal temperature.

But don't worry — it's a simple process:

  1. Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with a lubricant,

    such as petroleum jelly.

  2.Place your child:- belly-down across your lap or on a

    firm, flat surface and keep your palm along the lower

    back- or faceup with legs bent toward the chest with your hand against the back of the thighs

  3.With your other hand, insert the lubricated thermometer into the anal opening about ½ inch to 1 inch

    (about 1.25 to 2.5 centimeters), or until the tip of the thermometer is fully in the rectum. Stop if you feel any resistance


  4.Steady the thermometer between your second and third fingers as you cup your hand against your baby's

    bottom. Soothe your child and speak quietly as you hold the thermometer in place.

  5.Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be

    read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.


To take an oral temperature: This process is easy in an older, cooperative child.

  1. Wait 20 to 30 minutes after your child finishes eating or drinking to take an oral temperature, and make sure there's no gum or candy in your child's mouth.

  2. Place the tip of the thermometer under the tongue and ask your child to close his or her lips around it. Remind your child not to bite down or talk, and to relax and breathe normally through the nose.

  3. Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.


To take an axillary temperature: This is a convenient way to take a child's temperature. Although not as accurate as a rectal or oral temperature in a cooperative child, some parents prefer to take an axillary temperature, especially for kids who can't hold a thermometer in their mouths.

  1. Remove your child's shirt and undershirt, and place the thermometer under an armpit (it must be touching skin only, not clothing).

  2. Fold your child's arm across the chest to hold the thermometer in place.

  3. Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.


Whatever method you choose, keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Never take a child's temperature right after a bath or if he or she has been bundled tightly for a while — this can affect the temperature reading.

  • Never leave a child unattended while taking a temperature.