NEVER GIVE CHILDREN UNDER TWO YEARS MEDICATION CONTAINING CODEINE OR ANTIHISTAMINE. ALSO AVOID GIVING (ANYONE UNDER 18) ASPIRIN, AS IT CAN CAUSE A RARE BUT LIFE THREATENING CONDITION CALLED REYE’S SYNDROME
RARE, BUT VERY IMPORTANT
A rare but frightening side effect of fevers is febrile seizures or convulsions. “These fits can last up to five minutes and usually involve the whole body shaking with a decreased level of consciousness,” says the doc.
Only about 2 to 4 percent of children under five will get this. “Ideally, parents should take all the necessary steps to avoid febrile convulsions,” says Dr Karbanee.
Knowing what to do if it happens is important: • Do put your child on their side. • Do not put anything in their mouth. • Do call ambulance.
TREATMENT TIPS THERMOMETER
Invest in a thermometer that fits around baby’s head or one that measures the temperature in the ear – these are most accurate. Take the temperature in both ears for the most
Keep pain and fever syrups and suppositories handy and check expiry dates often.
Remember that even though medication is available over the counter, it should not be used with less caution than prescription medications. They can have serious, and even life threatening, side effects.
Stick to the prescribed dose. Giving a higher dose of medication for your baby’s age won’t break the fever quicker. It can in fact do more harm than good. Use your child’s weight as the indicator of the dose of medication that you need – this is most accurate. If you don’t know your child’s weight, then go for the dose that’s prescribed per age.
Giving medication as a preventative measure and to avoid the temperature from rising should be avoided. If your child’s temperature is rising once the previous dose has worn off, you should administer another dose, but, if the temperature remains within the normal range, there’s no need to give another dose.
With babies younger than six months, paracetamol is advised for pain and fever.
Temperature isn’t a reliable marker in small babies, as they can be sick with a normal or below-normal temperature. Always look at how your baby is feeding (is it normal?), is he floppy and how he is handling the temperature?
From six months of age, paracetamol or ibuprofen liquid or suppositories can be administered together (alternating) every eight hours, not more than three doses per day and not more than three days continuously. Example: paracetamol dose given at 6am, then ibuprofen dose given at 10am, paracetamol dose given at 2pm.
Paracetamol is very effective for treating fever, whereas ibuprofen is an antiinflammatory, which is good
Strip your baby and use a lukewarm towel or sponge bath to treat a fever. Don’t plunge him in ice-cold water, or use alcohol or any other strange fluids – this can actually lead to convulsions.
Even if you’re cold or if it is freezing outside, remove baby’s clothes if he has a fever. “It’s far safer to underdress the child than to overdress! If he’s sweating, he’s overdressed,” says Dr Karbanee.
Hands and feet can be misleading. Even if her feet or hands are ice-cold, she might still have a raging fever. Feel her chest and back and take her temperature. YB