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Babies/toddlers who regularly run very high fevers - 40c+ - any experience?

(17 Posts)
firstimeforeverything Thu 09-May-13 21:01:43

DS1 started to run very high fevers at about 15 months, regularly running to 40 degrees celsius. Now 2.5 yrs, they have been creeping as high as 41C since Christmas.

I loathe them, and he seems to run them with every little bug going. They make him very unwell and, frankly, terrify me when he comes up to me having gone mottled grey down his arms and legs and is freezing cold except for his head which is raging hot. They are hard to control even with full combined doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen and the 6 hour mark is always greeted with a massive spike in temp. I have tried alternating the drugs but they don't really work well unless combined or given in reasonably close succession. Once he has a temperature, they generally don't break for 4-5 days. He has to be watched 24 hours a day so I find the whole experience exhausting, and he had three of these episodes between Christmas and early April.

Now DS2, 11 months, is running one of these beastly temperatures - up to 39.9 today with the cold extremities and the spike as his dosage of drugs run out. I'm not even sure what the problem is - all I can find wrong with him is a few tummy rumbles. Have spoken to Dr but unable to see the GP today and am taking him tomorrow morning.

DH can also run high temps, so it has been suggested by our GPs that it is 'just one of those things'. Otherwise my boys are big - huge in fact - healthy, and developing well.

Does anyone have any experience of this? If anyone could provide some reassurance I'd be very grateful since I just don't know anyone else who has kids like this....

4nomore Thu 09-May-13 21:45:39

Yes, my son (third of four kids, the others aren't like him) has done this since he was a baby - I've never actually seen 41 degrees but I didn't have a proper thermometer until about three years ago and I'd say he's become slightly less thermonuclear hot with age. I too have to resort to heavy co-medication to keep it down. No tips or anything really just sympathy... all I can say is that although he's dreadful at the time it's never actually harmed him, he's never had a fit or anything and it's less frequent than it used to be

tallulah Thu 09-May-13 22:08:18

My DD (5th of 5) also used to regularly run temperatures of 40+, and as you say it is really frightening. She didn't ever fit though, and since she has been at school she seems to have grown out of it. She is 6 now, and when she had a temp recently it didn't go higher than 39.

BeaWheesht Thu 09-May-13 22:36:08

My tip would be to ask your GP for weight based dosages rather than he based, my big two year old always needs a bigger dose than bottle says when she has a fever.

babySophieRose Fri 10-May-13 08:58:49

My DD always goes 40* when not well. I wipe her forehead with damp cloth until the medicines starts working and it helps, temp goes down by two degrees. I also offer a lot of water. Usually Calpol and Nurofen together takes the temp down. I have noticed that Nurofen works better for her, so i always give her Nurofen first and Calpol later.

monikar Fri 10-May-13 12:44:31

You have my sympathy OP. My DD used to regularly hit temperatures of 40C with every little illness and did hit 41C occasionally. Like you, it would go on for days at a time and was exhausting. She had one fever fit when she was 2 which was terrifying and following that I became even more vigilant.

It is my understanding that fever fits are due to the speed at which the temperature rises at the outset so it is important to cool them down as fast as possible, by calpol/nurofen, wet flannel on the head, stripping them down to their nappy and also placing them under a fan. I know what you mean about being exhausted by it - I also watched 24 hours a day by keeping her in bed with me so I could doze between temperature checks.

Do you have an ear thermometer? They give the most accurate readings. Also, from experience, I found that when I thought the temperature was coming down after a few days, I would give the calpol/nurofen doses further and further apart, just to be sure.

firstimeforeverything Sat 11-May-13 20:30:48

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate hearing your thoughts and experiences. I do have one of the Braun ear thermometers (never go anywhere without it!) and I am lucky enough to know a couple of pharmacists who I have asked to do weight-based dosage recommendations for us since my boys are both big.

I am still trying to work out how I am going to cope with both of them going down with these fevers at the same time, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it :s.

monikar I feel for you seeing your daughter having a fever fit. I actually remember my youngest brother having a febrile convulsion when he was about the same age as my DS1 (although he didn't run these super high temps). I was pushing my brother in a shopping trolley when he suddenly fitted, I still remember it vividly even though it was 20 years ago, they are pretty upsetting even though I know now that they are not likely to be dangerous. But I will be mindful of your advice about the speed of the spike, thank you.

DeWe Sat 11-May-13 21:57:27

DD2 was like that. I was fine if I could keep her temperature below about 38.5, but if it hit just above, it would rush up to 40-41, and stay there for about 3 days of full calpol and ibroprofin medication, when it would gradually come down.

She's 9yo now and seems to have grown out of it, she hasn't done it since she was about 5yo anyway.

Neither of my others have often been above 40. The worst illness either of the others has had their temperature never got above 38 degrees.

One thing my GP said is that a high temperature doesn't necessarily mean a worse illness, so as long as it's controllable then it's not as worrying as I always tended to feel.

Karoleann Sat 11-May-13 22:24:10

Dd2 was like that since he had was hospitalised with chicken pox (pneumonia) at 10 months. Last couple of colds etc haven't been so bad - he's nearly 5 so fingers crossed.

I also have suffered from similar after contracting viral meningitis in early 2007, again last 6 Months or so have't been so bad.

It's odd isn't it and doesn't seem to have any medical explanation, its been annoying for me as I can't drive with a really high temp.

monikar Sun 12-May-13 19:24:37

OP, I was told that febrile convulsions do run in families so I would be extra-cautious if your brother had one. DD's father and grandfather had them.

If both your boys should come down with fevers at the same time, then I would keep a separate 'chart' for each of them - write down the temperature readings and also the times when you give calpol/nurofen. When you are chronically sleep-deprived, it is very easy to forget who has had what and what time you gave it to them.

If it is any consolation, DD grew out of these monstrous temperatures when she was about 10, but it was extremely worrying at the time.

BerthaTheBogCleaner Mon 13-May-13 22:20:10

2 of my 3 did this. Once the temperature gets high, they throw up and then it comes down a little. Which means every time they're even slightly ill with a sniggle, they get a huge temperature and vomit and aren't supposed to go to school for 48 hours ... Argh. Eldest has grown out of it now (10). Youngest has never done it - he has T1 Diabetes though, so if he is ill we're up all night with him too. The things they don't tell you before you have kids!

BerthaTheBogCleaner Mon 13-May-13 22:20:37

Sniffle, not sniggle. Think it must be bedtime!

fertilityagogo Mon 13-May-13 22:26:04

Both of my boys (age 2 and 4) go to 40+ when ill. Regularly. Nice to know I'm not alone.
I second the suggestion to start with nurofen rather than calpol, seems to yield better results.
Good luck.

Stressedtothehilt Tue 14-May-13 12:06:14

Dd1 used to regularly get temps of over 40 and she used to have many febrile convulsions with the fever. Was very scary. She's 9 now and still gets temps over 40. Pead told us a temp of 41 ot more can be fatal so very important you get them under control. We were given paracetamol suppositories to give dd as they work quicker than oral medicine as supposotories goes straight to blood stream

littlecrystal Mon 20-May-13 21:46:14

My DS2, 2.5yo, is ill at the moment and had fever of 40.5 last night. Remember him having 41.2 when he was a baby. It totally scares me out. I am almost relieved that DS2 has complained about ear pain this time and got prescribed abtibiotics, hope this helps to get the fever down.

DS1 used to have up to 40.0 very occassionally, but not 40+, and his last time only reached up to 39.6 so I am grateful that he is already 5 and growing out of those scary fevers.

monikar Tue 21-May-13 08:22:50

littlecrystal your poor DS2 that is very high. If he has an ear infection, the antibiotics will work quickly and bring the temperature down. How is he this morning?

It is such a worry when you know they get these very high temperatures, you have to be permanently watchful.

Another thing that I didn't know for ages is that the GP can give you a prescription for calpol and nurofen. A friend told me just to ask for a prescription, it had not occurred to me as they never offered it. By this time I had been buying both for about 3 years. The generic calpol tasted different but DD took it. It can work out expensive when you have to keep the doses up over several days.

littlecrystal Fri 24-May-13 20:33:59

monikar thank you he got much better soon after the 1-2 doses and the fever has not come back.

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