UAE: Why are children falling ill with day-old fevers? Doctors explain

Fever could be caused due to a number of factors, including infections and bugs

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SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 26 Aug 2022, 4:38 PM

Doctors are advising parents that mild fever among their kids is not a cause for alarm and the most common cause is probably flu or other viral infections.

In recent times many children aged 6 to 16 have been reporting to clinics with mild fever and cold, without showing any other symptoms. They said parents fear that their kids have got Covid, but in most cases it is not so.

“Most childhood infections nowadays are caused by viruses like the common cold, Influenza, upper respiratory infections, and gastroenteritis,” said Dr Gaurav Jadon, specialist pediatrician, NMC Speciality Hospital, Dubai.

Fever could be caused due to a number of factors, including infections and bugs. “Young children, more often, haven’t built up immunity to illness. Therefore, they are vulnerable to illness when they come in contact with germs. The child’s immune system works to fight off illnesses and when this system is triggered, the body’s temperature heats up,” said Dr Malak Shaheen, consultant of paediatrics and paediatric allergy, Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman.

“Precisely, fever is an alarm of the body’s natural defence system, and it’s not always a bad one,” added the Egyptian Doctor.

Psychological factors can never induce fever in children, doctors reveal. “Fever is produced due to chemical changes inside the body. It is a response mechanism where an alarm is produced by the immunological cells which imply changes happening in the body that are not necessarily good. The child may need medical intervention if the fever episodes are recurrent, or the temperature is anything above 38 degrees Celsius,” said Dr Shaheen.

When to visit a doctor?

Typically, a child’s average body temperature should be around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37° Celsius), if you take your child's temperature orally or axillary (armpit), and get a reading above 100.4° Fahrenheit , it calls for medical assistance.

“In some cases a child's fever does not come down with normal medications. This is seen in a child who is not active, or is not taking in enough liquids,” said Dr Jadon.

Doctors advise parents to seek medical help if their kids' fever lasts long or the body temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius. It must be measured correctly by a thermometer. “It [fever] needs to be treated if it causes discomfort to the child as he/she is inactive, not eating, and shows other symptoms,” said Dr Shaheen.

Most viral infections last for two to three days, but in some cases when the effect of medicines wear off, the fever may return and may have to be treated again. “The fever will go away and not return once the body overpowers the virus,” stated Dr Shaheen.

Advice for parents:

  • Get your child vaccinated to prevent Infections like Covid-19 and influenza
  • Reinforce precautionary measures such as wearing face masks, and washing hands frequently, among your children
  • Set early bedtime routines
  • Avoid sending your child to school if he/she is suffering from a fever or upper respiratory illness
  • Teach them hygienic practices such as how to clean themselves at home and school
  • Ensure a precautionary influenza vaccination routine is given before the beginning of each academic year (i.e., March and September)

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