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Updated: May 17, 2010 17:06 IST

Fighting a fever

Dr. Venugopal Gouri
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FEELING DIFFERENT: A usually active child could turn lethargic and quiet Photo:K.R. Deepak
The Hindu FEELING DIFFERENT: A usually active child could turn lethargic and quiet Photo:K.R. Deepak

Fever among children is not a life threatening illness but it does cause many anxious moments for the parents. The physician's concern is to identify the cause and once it is identified, things become easier.

The normal temperature measure in a human body of any age is 98.6F. It could rise to about 100F but it is not really a cause of concern. It is only a body's way of fighting an illness and more so in children as their immunity is still at a budding stage. But fever is of a concern when a few metabolic functions of the child go awry because of the infection. Fever could also occur due to certain medications, drugs and also due to exposure to heat.

A usually active child could turn lethargic, quiet and turn fussy, irritable and would want to be fed and carried which may not be his usual habits. The child could cry, sleep, and his breathing could also get affected. If the temperature does not come back to normal in 48 hours of treatment with medicines like paracetamol etc. medical attention is necessary. If the child has a fever associated with some discomfort like pulling at the ears, cough and on some occasions,vomiting or loose motions the cause of the fever can be identified. In some cases when it does not come back to normal in 48 hours etc., the physician would ask for some investigations. A complete blood picture will tell if the child is anaemic and whether the white blood cell count is reduced due to a viral infection or is more than normal due to a bacterial infection. If the neutrophils are reduced, then it could be a viral infection. If the eosinophil count is raised, it may denote an allergic manifestation. An elevated Erythrocyte sedimentation rate could suggest an underlying cause of the fever. If the Widal test is positive then it suggests Enteric fever or typhoid. Malarial parasite can be identified in blood screening too. A urine test could show loss of albumin and presence of pus cells or blood cells could suggest an infection of the urinary tract. An X Ray is a oft done test to reveal any infections like pneumonia or tuberculosis etc.

To keep the temperature closer to normal, over the counter drugs under medical guidance are useful but if the child has symptoms like headache, stiff neck, rash, seizures, swollen joints, pain abdomen, wheezing or unresponsiveness a physician's advice is imperative. At home, a tepid water sponging is good while making sure that child has water, every five minutes to prevent dehydration.

Homoeopathic medicine has good remedies. If the fever is associated with nausea and vomiting, Nux vomica, Ipecac, Eupa perf will help; if it is cough then Ars iod, Phos, have good action.

Dr.VENUGOPAL GOURI

92463 72625

drvenugopal@gmail.com

HEALTH QUERIES

Kidney disease and Bone loss

My father has been suffering with chronic kidney disease and has been on dialysis for the past couple of years. He suffered a fall and fracture of late and the opinion was that it is because of the kidney that his bones are weak. –Sri Ranga.

Kidney has multifaceted functions and its fall in function can lead to many side effects like anaemia, bone loss etc. Apart from trying to retain the function of the kidney, Homeopathic medicine has good remedies which can act complementarily in allaying such side effects of anaemia and bone loss. Remedies like Calc phos, Ruta, Symphytum stand in good stead under such circumstances. Consult a Homeopath.

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