The winter months get a bad rap as “cold and flu season.” But summer fevers—often tied to those nasty enteroviruses (like Coxsackie and hand, foot, and mouth disease), and viral rashes—are hardly scarce.
We’ve summed up the advice of the most trusted pediatric experts to help you battle spiking (body) temps during the toasty months.
Cause for concern. If your child seems warm, monitor her temperature regularly—at least three times a day, according to a study out of MIT’s Sloan School of Management Healthcare Lab. The temperature at which you should see the doc varies depending on your child’s age and the type of thermometer you’re using; we’re trusting the Mayo Clinic’s guidelines on this one. A smart thermometer that records temps in an app makes life easier, too.
When is it time to quarantine the little ones? Viruses that cause fevers above 100.4 degrees are contagious. It’s important to keep your child away from other children (and siblings) for 24 hours after the fever breaks.
How to ride out the fever. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child’s room—and the whole home—cool (68-70 degrees), and dressing them in light clothing. Stay hydrated, and take it easy. If they’re old enough to take acetaminophen (and you should consult with your doctor first), it can offer relief, as can a sponge bath in 1-2 inches of tepid (85-90 degrees Celsius) water.
Heatstroke is another issue entirely. Fevers are caused by internal conditions or infections, while heatstroke is the result of being outdoors (or, worse, an overheated car) in extreme heat. The AAP considers heatstroke to be an emergency condition and suggests immediate treatment (by relocating to a cool place, sponging with cool water, and fanning the child) followed by a visit to the pediatrician or ER.