Does Tina have a fever?
Tina has a temperature and Xavi has a chicken’s egg in his hand. They are just about to do an experiment. They want to find out if they can fry the egg on Tina’s hot forehead. Will they manage to fry it? Just in case, they have also brought some pieces of bacon to accompany it.
“Clock, clock”. Xavi gently knocks the shell on a plate. He begins to separate the crack that he has made with his two thumbs. One, two and…
What is a fever?
Our body is used to being at a temperature of between 35.8ºC and 37.2ºC. Sometimes, this temperature goes up. When it goes above 37.8ºC, we say that we have a fever. Between 37.2ºC and 37.8ºC, we talk of a slight fever.
The temperature of our body can change depending on the time of day. In general, our temperature is higher at night. At our age, perhaps we get more fevers than older people.
Touch the forehead of your classmates.
Do you feel the same warmth on your hand? Our body produces warmth.
Why do we have a fever?
We can have a fever for many reasons. For example:
|Because we are sick.|
|Because we are in a very hot place.|
|Because we are too warmly dressed.|
|Because the sun is very hot and we are not properly protected.|
|Because we have recently had a vaccination.|
|Because we are very tired or we haven’t had enough sleep.|
Is a fever bad?
The fever plays on our side. It is part of our team. When we have a fever, it means that our body is fighting against an intruder.
When a part of our brain called the hypothalamus detects that a microbe which can cause infections and make us sick is inside us, it becomes alert. The hypothalamus orders our body to raise our temperature.
Therefore, we can say that the fever is our ally to defeat an illness.
I have a fever. What should I do?
The fever is an alarm and defence system in our body. Therefore, when we have it, we shouldn’t eliminate it. What we have to do is to try to reduce it.
If we have a fever, but:
|we feel like playing,|
|we feel like eating and drinking,|
|we feel awake and happy|
|and the colour of our skin is the same as usual (we are not pale, green, yellow or red like an embarrassed red pepper)|
we should stay at home, resting and drinking water or fruit juices. Take the opportunity to sleep a little more, watch television, listen to the radio, read, draw pictures or play peaceful games.
If we are uncomfortable or feel weak, sometimes it can be useful to put a little flannel with lukewarm water on our forehead or our wrists or refresh ourselves with a sponge soaked in lukewarm water. We should also take some of our clothes off if we are too warmly dressed. The chemist can advise us about what to do.
On the other hand, our parents will certainly have to let the doctor know if:
|we have a high temperature, higher than 40ºC, and it doesn’t go down;|
|we have a sore throat, earache or a cough;|
|we cry or complain about everything;|
|we are more spellbound than usual or we notice ourselves to be confused;|
|we cannot walk or move our arms;|
|we find it very difficult to breathe;|
|our tongue, lips or nails are blue|
|or we have convulsions (we move as if a mouse was jumping around inside us).|
What we SHOULDN’T do
|Organise a barefoot obstacle race around the whole neighbourhood.|
|Wrap ourselves up in a lot of blankets or put on more jerseys than necessary.|
|Have a cold bath.|
|Use alcohol to refresh ourselves.|
|Drink cola refreshments.|
Sometimes, the fever can make us shiver or make us a bit delirious, which means that we say or see strange things as if we were dreaming awake.
How to measure a fever. The thermometer
Mum told Dad that Tina had a fever. Dad got near to his daughter, bent down a little bit, held her head with his hands, and before she had time to move, put his lips on her forehead. “Yes”, confirmed Dad.
It is possible to find out if someone has a fever by touching the person’s forehead. But, to be completely sure, the best thing is to use a thermometer.
Nowadays, the thermometers we use are digital or electronic.
Kinds of thermometers:
With the thermometer we take the temperature of our body. We can put it in various places:
|Under our arm, in our armpit.|
|In our mouth.|
|In the rectum, that is, our bottom.|
|In the ear.|
Whenever we use the thermometer, we have to keep still and follow the instructions of our parents, grand-parents, teachers, nurses, or baby-sitters. It is not too annoying, because we find out very quickly whether we have a fever or not.
We have a fever when the thermometer shows the following numbers, or higher ones:
|38ºC (if the temperature is taken in the rectum)|
|37.5ºC (if the temperature is taken in the mouth)|
|37.2ºC (if the temperature is taken in the armpit)|
You have probably heard it said that: “the child has tenths of a degree”. That is the way that your grandmother would say that you have a slight fever.