Kids catching fever is always a worry for parents. While most of the fevers are benign and self limiting, some of them can be life threatening. These days there are few fever epidemics spreading in the country and This article is a must read for parents with little kids.
With the change in weather there is always likely to spread of infectious diseases. Following are few viral fevers commonly seen among children these days.
Dengue fever is a viral illness and it is transmitted by a mosquito. This vector mosquito breeds in clear water collections and following rainy periods we can see an increase in the number of people catching dengue fever. Sri lanka is suffering from this menace over last few years and still we see moralities due to dengue fever.
Viral Fever With Vomiting, and Loose Motion:
An illness comprising of fever, vomiting and loose motion also spreading both among adults and children these days. Usually this type of illness can be attributed to food poisoning. But this clinical syndrome seems to be a viral fever with mainly gastrointestinal symptoms. Also some people may show features of cough and cold.
When suffering from this illness it is important to get medical advice and treatment to control the symptoms. Losing water with vomiting and loose motion and reduced intake of foods and drinks can lead to dehydration. Hence, it is vital to control vomiting and maintain the hydration. There are medicines to stop vomiting. Also, one can take Paracetamol to control in correct dosage.
To maintain the hydration, Oral Rehydration Solutions like Jeewani play a very vital role. As bowel is ill, the patient have to take frequent, small sips to clench the thirst. Also, some clinicians advise to take liquid diets and lactose free diets.
Rest is also important for faster recovery and patients return to normal health with a week time.
We are also experiencing small out break of measles these days. Measles also a viral illness which gives rise to fever and skin rash. Some of the patient may develop complications of measles and it is important to seek medical advice.
Measles out break is specially found in the age range of 6 months to 12 months. One of the reasons may be due to the delay in giving Measles vaccine at 12 month of age now. Earlier it was given at the age of nine months. The preventive health care has advised parents to get MMR vaccine for their kids if they are under 12 months of age and not yet got the MMR vaccine.
Measles spread by close contacts through infective droplets. The incubation period (The time taken to develop illness after getting infected with the virus) is about 9-12 days. The initial symptom will be high fever, cough, red eyes and loss of appetite. After four days, skin rash develops. Rash begins behind the ears and spread all over the body.
The complications of measles include bacterial pneumonia, encephalitis and middle ear infections. It is vital to have a nutritious diet to prevent some of these complications. Parents may avoid giving some of the foods to ill children due to their believes about measles. However, there should not be any restrictions of foods to these children if they can eat fish and meats. Like other viral illness giving enough liquids and having rest are vital for a faster recovery.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease:
This is a viral fever and caused by coxsackie virus. This is a very benign illness with fever and a rash. Rash is very concerning to parents and this illness is very common among small children. They develop a very characteristic rash in mouth, around anus and both in hands and feet. The recent out breaks show a atypical rash which spreads in to other body parts.
The children get better in 4 to 7 days and usually do not lead to complications. It is important to control the fever with paracetamol during illness with adequate liquid diet and rest.
Parents mainly worry when the rash appear and they get confuse this rash with the chickenpox rash. A qualified medical practitioner can easily differentiate this and if you are in doubt it is always better to seek medical advice.
Most of the time, antibiotics are not indicated to treat these fevers. Viral fevers are healed by body’s immune system. What is important during these illness is to have an adequate rest and to maintain nutrition. As most of the children will loose appetite and have symptoms like vomiting, liquid diet is a better option.
Paracetamol is THE DRUG to control fever. However it is very important to give it in correct dosage. 15 mg per kg is the correct dosage and using your child’s weight you can decide how much to give at a time. Paracetamol can be given when fever comes or as a regular dose. Always make sure you wait 6 hours to give next dose.
Another measure that you can use is tepid sponging. Make sure to use luke warm water and to sponge below arm bits, around neck and groins.
Blood tests may also be needed. Your doctor will advise on necessary tests and correct timing.
I hope that I was able to give you an idea of common viral illnesses among children these days. But I am sure you might need some clarifications. Please add your concerns in the comment box below and I will answer them all.
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