Viral Fever In Children - Symptoms, Treatment, Protection Tips
Created by Dr Shipra Mathur Updated on Jul 05, 2019
As the summer heat gets to us, we look forward to the rains to provide a much-needed respite. Monsoon is indeed welcome!
With it though, come some illnesses that we are now familiar with. The increased humidity and dampness promote multiplication and spread of several bacteria and viruses. These illnesses could be- mosquito-borne fevers like dengue and malaria, gastrointestinal infections, cold and flu, and other nonspecific viral illnesses. These affect babies and young children more easily given their underdeveloped immune system.
Symptoms of Viral Fever
The main symptom of a viral infection is, as the name implies, is a fever. This may vary from being a once a day episode only to recurrent high fever depending on the type of infection. There may be associated chills, sore throat, diarrhea, fatigue, skin rash, a runny nose or congestion.
Most viral fevers in kids last 3 to 4 days. However, some exceptions are fevers from influenza or mononucleosis, which can take about 10 days to go.
Generally, viral infections are less alarming than bacterial infections. But it is very difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial fevers in the initial days. The fever pattern and presence of other symptoms can often help to identify a specific cause of the fever. Therefore it's better to consult your doctor instead of continuing to self-medicate with over the counter medicines. A fever that persists beyond 3-4 days or has carried on without an obvious reason will require examination and may need some investigations.
Treatment of Viral Fever
- Antibiotics are of no use in viral fevers, as they do not work against viruses. The main aim is to keep the child comfortable by reducing fever and maintaining hydration.
- Use anti-fever medication in the doses prescribed.
- Provide plenty of water and warm fluids such as soup.
- Provide ORS to prevent dehydration if there are loose motions
- Use nasal saline drops for a blocked or congested nose where there is associated cold/cough
Protecting Your Child From Viral Infections
Here are some tips for keeping your children healthy during the monsoon season-
- Avoid giving too much junk food to children. When eating out, be mindful of hygiene and avoid street food during monsoon. Homemade well-cooked food is preferable. Avoid reheating food.
- Avoid giving water-based fruits like watermelon and muskmelon, as these are more suitable for summers.
- Preferably bathe your children in hot water instead of cold water.
- Encourage children to practice good personal hygiene such as washing hands frequently
- Make them wear protective light clothing
- Take the flu shot as the season changes
- Avoid close contact with other children and adults suffering from viral fever
I hope these tips will help you. A little extra care and you can enjoy the monsoon even more!