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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

High temperature. Did I underreact?

(12 Posts)
rattling Mon 29-Nov-10 21:00:15

Both my 18 month old twins have been a bit unwell for a week or so (colds with occasional coughing) but yesterday one of them was in a particularly bad way. He was hot in the morning (38.5), gave him 2.5ml ibuprofen, he ate some lunch and drank plenty of water before going down to sleep for 3 hours (90min - 2 hours is usual) and even then I woke him up. At that point he was hot again - didn't feel like he was burning up but thermometer said 41.5!! Gave 5ml of ibuprofen, prepared to dash to hospital, but along with the roads being awful he didn't seem too bad and his temp dropped to 38 in 30 minutes. He was clearly unwell, but drinking well and not floppy, just happy to curl up with me (quite unusual). A couple of hours later he was back terrorising his brother, ate loads of dinner, all turned out well.

But, should I have panicked more? When he was about 9 months old he had a temp of 40 and was still crawling around and eating loads. Does he just work okay at high temps, should I doubt my thermometer (only a year old, digital, gives sensible readings when we are well), or have I been lucky that nothing bad has resulted from these high temps?

babybear5 Mon 29-Nov-10 21:05:47

i think that you are just a well rounded, relaxed mum which is nice to hear. I too am probably guilty of under reacting but it always turns out in the end. I say, always trust your own instincts. We all know our own children best. smile

cedmonds Mon 29-Nov-10 21:07:28

Hi
My ds(4) Gets very high temperature.Last Winter he had high temperatures so was kept in hospital to get the bottom of it. He had a temp of 40 and was in the play room playing the Doctors couldn't belive it. They said with him they thought was the fact that he has had lots of antibiotics.(On every day for 3 month at a time) It may be worth talking to the GP about it though.

Showaddywaddy Mon 29-Nov-10 21:09:17

It's a toughie.

You see I tend not to look at a thermometer at all. I look at dd and medicate her if she's distressed or in pain. And I try and treat a temp by natural means (stripping her down, cooling her off, drinks etc) if necessary and accept that a temp is her body doing its job.

I would suggest that the thermometer reading might have been wrong actually if it dropped that quickly and he didn't seem really unwell. 41 is bloody high!

With a toddler as opposed to a baby as well, a higher temp isn't necessarily as much of a cause for concern. 38.5 is a very mild temp indeed really. And if you're thinking of things like convulsion risks, in a toddler this is caused by the speed at which a temp spikes as opposed to the high temp itself. My niece is prone to them and a spike from 37 to 38 can cause them for her.

I guess my waffle really is underpinned by the fact that you know your own child and you respond to them. I know sometimes the numbers on a thermometer are irrelevant. The only time dd has been poorly enough to hospitalise, her temp wasn't high at all but I knew something was wrong and pursued a&e on that basis.

LauraNorder Mon 29-Nov-10 21:10:41

I think you reacted perfectly! My own GP and my DH both say treat the child not the temp!

LauraNorder Mon 29-Nov-10 21:12:21

Easy for me to say though living with a Dr, it's so reassuring and I'm a nurse! blush

Showaddywaddy Mon 29-Nov-10 21:17:27

Oh I don't know. My friends are GPs and they say it's worse for them as they've seen what can go wrong. They lose all rationality when it's their own. Even if they 'know' everything's fine, their brains play tricks on them.

I do agree with looking at the child not the temp. I always think if you take the temp out of the equation, would you still be worried?

rattling Mon 29-Nov-10 21:21:32

Thanks for the quick responses. I have to admit I wouldn't have thought 38 was a particularly high temp - but quite a few threads here and RL conversations have given me that idea. Strangely yesterday as my DH was panicking I was telling him to be sensible, DS was clearly okay and I was explaining the role of fever in combating infection - today all is well and I'm starting to worry! If the cough carries on much longer we will be visiting the GP and I'll mention the high temperatures.

woolymindy Mon 29-Nov-10 21:24:05

Good for you for not over reacting - like others have said if they are still chirpy in themselves then nothing to worry about

That said I am a chronic under reactor myself

skydance Tue 30-Nov-10 17:34:48

If the temp is coming down with calpol then it's not a problem.

My son tends to have febrile convulsions, although they are caused by a spike in temp rather than a slower rise in temp, but even with the convulsions I don't have to take him to a doctor, they like to see them the first time they have a fit, but after that you're just to treat at home.

I think the only time you should consult a doctor is if the temp is not coming down and there is no obvious cause.

DS had a temp of 40.3 on sat night for 2 hours and I didn't take him to a doctor. blush So I think you reacted just fine.

reikizen Tue 30-Nov-10 17:42:05

As a previous poster said, treat the child not the temp. There is also some evidence that febrile convulsions won't always be prevented by reducing the temp I understand.

MmeLindt Tue 30-Nov-10 17:48:05

Have a look here, I think this gives a good overview of when to seek medical advice.

If the temp had not come down then I would have worried, but I think you reacted well.

Fwiw, I was told that the danger is the temperature spiking up and down, which is why it is recommended to gently lower the temperature - when I was in Germany it was common to give paracetemol in pessary form, but I was told by a paediatric nurse than liquid nurofen or calpol is better and it does not cause the temperature to spike.

Might be worth measuring his temperature over a period of a month or two (when he is well) to find if he generally has a higher than "normal" temp.

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