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What are the causes of high temperatures in children? How can it be measured?


Parents feel anxious when their child’s temperature rises, especially if the period lasts for more than three days. But don’t be anxious and anxious, as a high temperature is a sign that the body is fighting an infection. When the body’s defenses (the immune system) are activated against germs, many reactions occur, including high temperatures.

Where high temperature is not considered a disease, but rather an indication of the occurrence of infections in the body. And these infections must be treated until the temperature goes down and goes away. Therefore, some common mistakes to reduce heat should be avoided, such as the use of cloth moistened with alcohol, which is not preferred, as the alcohol absorbs the alcohol and causes toxicity.

What causes a high temperature in children?

Various infections can cause hyperthermia, as knowing the extent of the high temperature does not help the doctor determine whether it is a mild or severe infection.

Heat can be caused by:

  • A slight increase in the child’s body temperature when he increases his physical activity, or when he is bathing in hot water.
  • Certain bacterial infection that causes otitis media, pneumonia, or urinary infection which may persist until the child is treated with antibiotics.
  • Exposure to the sun for long periods of time.
  • Taking some medications that lead to a dangerous rise in body temperature, such as vaccines.
  • Some non-communicable diseases and other chronic diseases cause frequent or persistent fever.
  • Many believe that teething causes a high temperature.
  • Viral or digestive viral infections, as most cases of high fever caused by viruses last for 2-3 days, but in some cases it can last for two weeks.

How to measure body temperature?

In general, when children have a high temperature, to be sure that the child is really suffering from a high temperature, it is necessary to take his body temperature. Which is done by:

Measuring temperature rectally:

It is the most accurate way to take a temperature by inserting a thermometer into the anus. When the temperature rises above 38 ° C (100.4 ° F ) it means that the baby needs attention.

Oral temperature measurement:

This method is used in older children, when the temperature is above 37.5 ° C (99.5 ° F), which means the child is sick.  

There are other methods of measuring the temperature:

It can be useful, but it is less accurate. Among these methods:

  • Measuring the temperature through the armpit area and the child is lying on his back, and the thermometer is placed under the armpit, if the temperature is higher than 37.2 ° C (99.0 ° F) means that the child’s temperature is high.
  • Ear thermometer (tympanic), if the temperature is higher than 38 ° C (100.4 ° F) this means there is a temperature.

Take care of children when their temperature rises

  • Do baths of warm water for 15-20 minutes for your baby.
  • If the fever does not decrease or remains above 39.5 ° C, it will be necessary to consult a pediatrician.
  • The child should be dressed in light clothing. As most body heat is excreted through the skin. If the child has chills, cover them with a light blanket and maintain an adequate temperature in the room.
  • Providing the child with additional fluids to replace the fluids that have been lost from his body. Where it can be fresh water or beneficial drinks, it does not matter whether the drink is hot or cold.
  • Use a damp cloth to help lower the body temperature, as it is not necessary because it makes the child feel more discomfort, because it cools the outside of the child’s body and causes chills, without actually affecting the internal temperature.
  • Some medications can help lower the temperature, by 1 or 2 degrees. You may not be able to lower it to the normal level.

Medicines that help reduce fever in children:


Among the recommended fever-reducing medications are:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempera, Apinol) which are generic and other brands of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Brufen). Both of them come in the form of tablets or capsules and have a liquid type, in different sizes.

Acetaminophen can also be obtained in the form of a capsule to put in the anus, so you should consult a doctor or pharmacist in determining the most appropriate formulation and dose of the drug for the child. The appropriate dose depends on the child’s body weight.

You may also be interested in: Ways to deal with a child’s overheating and overheating.

Types of thermometers

The easiest way to take a child’s temperature is to use a digital thermometer. It can be obtained at most pharmacies. There are other types of thermometers, including a mercury thermometer and an eardrum scale. Most glass thermometers contain mercury.

Note: Do not use a glass thermometer that contains mercury if it is cracked or damaged.

Other types of thermometers:

  • Electronic Digital Thermometer Pacifiers, pacifiers can be used to estimate temperature in young children.
  • Temperature test strips are liquid crystal strips placed on the forehead and are not an accurate way to measure temperature.
  • Manual contact, i.e. placing the hand on the child’s forehead or neck, is also an unreliable method.

The best way to measure the temperature

The different methods of measuring body temperature are described according to the age of the child.

  • Newborn to 2 years old, the most accurate way to measure a child’s temperature is by inserting a thermometer into the anus. If this is not possible, use the armpit method.
  • Children from 2 to 5 years old, the most accurate method is also to use a thermometer inside the anus. The temperature can also be taken by ear or the armpit method.
  • Children over 5 years old, take their temperature orally. An ear thermometer or the armpit method can also be used.

When should a pediatrician be consulted?

Before consulting a pediatrician, first the general condition of the child must be evaluated and know how he looks: If the child is happy, eats and drinks well, then there is no need to fear, but there are some cases in which it is necessary to go to the pediatrician to evaluate the child’s condition:

  • If the child is less than two years old, and especially if he is less than three months old.
  • If he is depressed or irritable, or feels general malaise.
  • If he has severe headache or vomiting and has difficulty breathing.
  • If his temperature is 40 ° C and has not decreased despite treatment with antibiotics.

We should not be too concerned because most of the time it will be nothing more than a harmless virus in the beginning. However, if there is any doubt about a child’s health condition, a pediatrician should be consulted, who will answer any questions and prescribe the best treatment for the child.



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