What is fever?
Fever is an elevation of the normal body temperature. Fever is most commonly caused by a viral or bacterial infections, such as exercising in a very warm environment, rheumatoid arthritis, a reaction to a vaccine or medication or cancer.
What is considered a fever?
Axillary (armpit) temperatures above 100°F (38.9°C), oral Temperatures above 101°F (38.3°C), or equivalent temperatures taken with proper use of other reliable instruments usually are considered to be above normal in children. Children’s temperatures may be elevated for a variety of reasons, most of which do not indicate serious illness.
Does fever mean a child is contagious?
- • Children with fever are not always contagious. Non contagious causes of fever include urinary tract infections and causes unrelated to infections and causes unrelated to infections.
- • The most common cause of fever is a viral upper respiratory infection (the common cold). Although the common cold is contagious, it is not particularly harmful to others. Some children have a fever and never develop other symptoms and the fever resolves by itself. Many infections cause a child to be contagious for several days before a fever develops. Some infections cause a child to remain contagious long after the fever has resolved. Finally, many children spread germs without ever developing a fever or other symptoms.
Is fever harmful to the child?
- • No. Most (virtually all) fevers that occur because of infectious diseases are not harmful. The very high body temperatures in heatstroke are harmful. Children should never be left unattended in a car because the temperature can rise quickly and cause heatstroke and even death in a young child. Exercising in excessively hot weather or in overheated rooms indoors can be harmful also.
- • Children with fever are usually less active and need to drink more to avoid dehydration.
- • Some young children with fever may have a brief seizure. Most brief seizures (that last less than 15 minutes) associated with fever occur in children younger than 6 years and are not harmful. They are frightening to witness but do not result in any kind of brain damage. However, a child who has experienced a seizure should be referred to a health professional for evaluation, unless the child’s seizure fits the pattern of a previously identified seizure disorder that the program has been taught to manage for that child.
- • Fever is one way the body may respond to an infection. When fever develops, all the infection- fighting mechanisms tend to speed up and can help the body fight the infection. High elevations in body temperatures can require more replacement of body fluids and sometimes affect behavior.
- • Children may have high elevations in body temperature and appear relatively well. Therefore, fever is not a good indication of severity of illness. Behavior is a much more reliable indicator of the significance of illness. If a child appears moderately ill with a fever, he should be referred for medical evaluation.
What are the roles of the teacher/caregiver and the family?
- • Measure a temperature only if a child is acting ill.
- • If a child who is acting ill (behavior change) has a fever, notify the staff member designated by the child care program or school for decision-making and action related to care of ill children. That person in turn should alert the parents / guardians for pickup.
- • Treating the fever is not necessary unless the child is uncomfortable. Evidence suggests that fever helps the body fight infection. Acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (eg, Advil, Motrin) may be considered for the child’s comfort if the child feels ill; however, reducing fever also reduces the child’s ability to fight the infection and so makes the germs feel better. Generally, there is no rush to reduce a child’s temperature. Aspirin should never be administered to children with fever because of the potential risk of Reye syndrome. Any child receiving a medication should have a note from the child’s health professional and a medication bottle with the child’s name and clear dosing instructions printed on it. If a child is uncomfortable and has a fever and the requirement for a note and clearly labeled medication are met the program can administer fever reducing medication while waiting for parents/legal guardians to come pick up the child.
- • There is no need to cool the child to try to bring down the fever unless the child’s temperature is high from exposure to extreme heat, often associated with vigorous exercise (heat exhaustion or heatstroke)- such instances are medical emergencies that require immediate ealth professional care.
- • Infants younger than 4 months with fever should be evaluated by a medical professional. Any infant younger than 2 months with a rectal temperature above 100.4®F should get medical attention immediately-within an hour if possible. The fever is not harmful; however, the illness causing it may be serious in this age group.
Exclude from group setting?
- • Only if Fever is noted in infant younger than 2 months (60 Days).
- • Fever is associated with behavior change or other signs of illness. These signs of illness are anything (other than the fever) that indicates that the child’s condition is different from what is usual when the child is healthy. Exclusion for fever and signs of illness transfers the responsibility to the family to monitor the child.
- • The child is unable to participate and staff members determine that they cannot care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the health and safety of the other children in the group.
Readmit to group Settings?
- • When exclusion criteria are resolved, the child is able to participate, and staff members determine that they can care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the health and safety of the other children in the group. A health professional visit is not required after every exclusion for fever.