We know that when a child is having a fever, his temperature is higher. However, what really causes a fever?
Fever is a body reaction to kill bacteria, fungus, virus or foreign matter that cannot live at a higher temperature. The body is also able to defend itself more efficiently at a higher temperature. Therefore, low grade fever (from 37.5 to 38 degrees Celsius) may not require treatment but parents can try to bring down the fever to let the child feel more comfortable. For infants, fever above 38 degrees Celsius should be attended by doctor immediately. For an older child, should he appear unwell and not eating nor sleeping properly, a visit to the doctor is warranted.
Here are 10 top favourite and effective home remedies to reduce your child’s temperature!
Home Remedy #1 – Drink Plenty of Fluids
Children age 4 to 10 years should drink at least 6 to 10 cups of liquids to replace lost fluids since fever hastens fluid loss. Do not wait for signs of dehydration such as thirst and darker urine before offering more fluids to the child. Small amounts of fluids consumed frequently work best and popsicles are a child’s favourite.
Home Remedy #2 – Rest
Rest at home and do not interact with other children. Since fever often indicates an infection, rest is needed for the body to defend itself. The child can play indoors but activities should be quiet ones. A child should only return to childcare centres after at least 24 hours without fever.
Home Remedy #3 – Sponge Bath
Sponge baths can help bring the temperature down as evaporation cools the skin. Use lukewarm (not cold) water to dip the washcloth and place the cloth on the child’s stomach, groin, underarm and behind the neck. When the washcloth starts to cool, replace them with lukewarm ones.
Home Remedy #4 – Dress Light
The child should be dressed lightly and use a thin blanket. Wrapping the child in warm clothing and blankets will not help to bring the fever down. Observe the child as well – if the child is shivering, offer long sleeve light clothing or a comforter.
Home Remedy #5 – Keep Room Comfortable
Keep the temperature of the room comfortable – neither too hot nor too cold. The room should also be well ventilated and if required, have a fan to keep the air circulating.
Home Remedy #6 – Medication
If you have ibuprofen or paracetamol at home, the correct dosage can be given to the child. Be sure not to give both together to prevent exceeding dosage. Aspirin should not be given to a child.
Home Remedy #7 – Offer Soups
Soups are a good source of nutrition and fluids – consider bone broth with vegetables. The vapor from the chicken broth can also loosen dried mucus in the nasal passages.
Home Remedy #8 – Probiotics
Probiotics have been associated with lowering fever in children and in any case, having good bacteria in the gut is healthy and believed to be immune-boosting. Incorporate yoghurt into your child’s diet and it is also a cool treat when having fever.
Home Remedy #9 – Antioxidant-rich fruits
During fever, fruits can be a sweet source of fluid apart from its rich source of vitamins. Consider fruits such as oranges, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe or mashed banana for the younger child. Choose fresh fruits and not off-the-shelf sweetened ‘fruit-flavoured’ products.
Home Remedy #10 – Reduce Stress
Recent studies have identified the brain connection between stress and fever, where a state of mental stress can induce an increase in body temperature. Although this is more common in teenagers, it is a reminder that stress plays a huge part in our well-being. Moreover, children pick up stress signals from parents so let your child rest in not only a physically comfortable environment but also an emotionally comforting one.
If despite applying some of the home remedies above and the child shows no sign of improvement, or a high fever persists, the child should be taken to a doctor. This is especially important if the child is vomiting, diarrhea, shows sign of dehydration, pain when urinating or specific pain or rash. Otherwise, doctors generally agree that a mild fever is not a cause of concern but a positive reflection that the body is able to respond to defend itself.