How to take your child’s temperature correctly

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It must be said that fever is a self-defense mechanism of the body, a reaction of the immune system, produced by viruses, microbes and/or bacteria. The child, around the age of six months, can have a fever because of the teething process, but also because of a fit of crying determined, for example, by the absence of the mother, early weaning or as a reaction to some foods.

Fever also appears after vaccinations, in which case it is not recommended to take medicines that lead to its decrease. All parents must know that fever is a symptom, not a disease, and the reduction of fever does not mean that the cause that produced it has been resolved.

The way to measure the child’s temperature depends on the child’s age

The six-month threshold is an important element. A child younger than six months with a fever is like a ticking time bomb, because the evolution of the condition can be extremely fast. Fever in a small child is a medical emergency. Over six months, fever that lasts more than a day must be reported to the doctor. It is important to take the child’s temperature correctly: the normal temperature is below 37 degrees Celsius, and an increase above this value indicates that the self-defense mechanisms of the immune system have come into operation. The fidelity of the measured temperature depends on the place of application of the thermometer and its precision. There are several types of thermometers: mercury or alcohol (glass), digital, infrared, tympanic (for ears), oral – pacifier type, forehead and axial thermometers, but also digital. Some are more accurate, some are not.

Thus, the special bands for the child’s forehead do not measure temperature correctly, the tympanic and digital ones can give important errors. Correct and good are those with mercury and alcohol, digital ones and pacifier type ones.

A rectal thermometer is recommended for newborns. It is the safest method and babies cannot resist this treatment too much. For children between the ages of three months and four years, the best method of temperature measurement remains the rectal one, with the alternative of the axial thermometer, for older children, but constantly supervised by parents.

Body temperature differs depending on where the temperature is measured. Thus, a temperature above 37.2°C axially, 37.5°C orally and 38°C measured rectally is considered a fever. The temperature also varies depending on the time. At night the body has a lower temperature. The highest value is around 18.00.

When choosing a thermometer you have to take into account several details: that it gives you the correct temperature and that it is easily accepted by children are the most important details, especially since sometimes it is necessary to measure the temperature several times at short intervals of time (for example, when the fever is high and you apply the classic methods of cooling the child).

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