Has your healthy and strong toddler been falling ill often these days without any reason? According to me, every child is going to go through this phase in their childhood at some time or the other. The same happened to my child too. This usually happens because of the low immune system your child developed recently due to some other diseases and illnesses in their body. Normally, all children who are below the age of 5 years have a very low immune system. Their immune system is developing day by day to adjust to the outside environment. Thaswhy it is very important to keep your child away from all the infections, dirt, cold, hot weather, etc till they reach 5 years and after too.
Kids are more prone to infections and viral fevers when they start going to school. So they might get recurrent fever in the early stage of school. Since it’s a very new environment to them, they are now interacting with so many other kids and adults, a new place with new bacteria and infections. Till 2 to 3 years of age, they have been at home with you and you have kept them in a very clean and safe place. Even after 5 years of age, you should still take care of your child and always keep an eye on them and check if they are eating right and healthy food, or not playing for long hours in the rain, mud, and dirt.
What is a Recurrent Fever?
Normal fevers are fevers that you get when you come in contact with viruses or bacteria. They usually come once in a while or when you don’t maintain hygiene around you. They stay for 3 to 4 days and go away automatically. Sometimes you need a blood test if your fever doesn’t go away within 5 days. When you get a fever multiple times in a month or every 15 to 20 days, then it is called a recurring fever or recurrent fever. This fever comes along with other symptoms like cold and cough and sometimes without any reason and goes away on its own after 3 to 4 days. Your child will act normally after fever or in between fevers. This is mostly seen in children below 5 years of age.
I have a 3-year-old son who is very healthy and strong since he was born. He got a cold, fever, or cough very rarely. He used to get fever only when he had vaccinations or sometimes due to a cold or viral infection.
When he was 2.5 years old we went to our native place Guntur which is in Andhra Pradesh. The weather there in summer is very very hot that you cannot stand outside in the sun even for 3 minutes. But we had to go out in the afternoon at 11 am to our relative’s house for some important discussion. Our relative’s house is very near to our house. It usually takes just 5 minutes to go on a walk. So we didn’t take an auto or bike and went there for a walk. Since 11 am to 4 pm is the time when the temperature is very high, it is not a good idea to take a child below 5 years of age outside. And since my child is very small with a very low immune system, he got sunstroke as soon as we came home at 6 pm.
When you search or ask people around you about sunstroke, its side effects, and symptoms that they tell you are very different from what my son got. My son had full vomiting and a full fever of up to 103 degrees Celsius. But people say that people when you get sunstroke, you will get rashes on the body, your skin will be very hot, loss of appetite, dizziness, and dehydration.
My son wanted to eat something as he was very hungry, but as soon as he ate, he vomited everything. Even a sip of water that he would drink, would come out forcefully. This continued for 2 days though he was on medicine and kept in a cool place. There was nothing in his stomach for 2 days and at last, he was admitted to the hospital for one day and given 4 to 5 glucose bottles. He recovered completely but that sunstroke broke my son’s immune system very badly. Just after 20 days after recovery he again got a fever with no other symptoms and went away again within 3 days after giving paracetamol. Again after 20 days the fever repeated along with the cold and went away within 4 days. This continued to happen for 5 months. He got a fever every 15 to 20 days whenever he went out, had ice cream, or sometimes without any reason. He lost weight and became very thin. We were so much worried about his health and thought to do a blood test and full body scan to check for any illness or organ damage inside. Because we heard people say that our son might have a serious disease inside and that is why he is getting fevers very frequently.
Our doctor told us that our son’s immune system has become very weak after sunstroke, and it takes some time to build up again. He recommended immune drops for one month and told us to keep him away from dirt, unhygienic areas, and junk food. We followed the same. Whenever he came back from the park, I use to bathe him to get rid of all the germs, we limited the quantity of junk food he takes like lollipops, biscuits, cakes, and chips. I used to give him warm water to drink every day or whenever he had ice cream or juice. This will prevent throat infection and hence cold and fever. We used to cover his head and ears when we go outside. More fiber, nuts, fruits, and healthy food were added to his diet to build immunity faster.
After 3 to 4 months of carefully taking care of him, he recovered fully. He was strong and healthy again just like before. He started to gain some weight and was very active like before. When he reached 3 years of age, he started to go to school too in the nursery. As soon as he joined his nursery, within 5 days he got a cold and fever. I thought this is normal as it happens with every kid who is new to the school. Infections from other children can easily pass on to kids with low immunity. He got a fever along with a cold for 2 days. After 3 to 4 days I and my husband got a cold and fever. While we were recovering my son got a fever and cold again just like before. This time we took him to the hospital and our doctor suggested a blood test as he got a fever again after 5 days of recovery.
Taking a blood test on a little 3-year-old kid is really painful. but my son cooperated a lot. He is smart, active, and playful. We got the reports on the same day. We were so worried about the results. When we got the reports we were sad as our son tested typhoid positive. We sent the reports to our pediatrician and he confirmed that our son has mild typhoid and that it’s nothing to worry about. The next day, we went to the hospital and he gave our son a 5 days antibiotic course. He told us we can give all kinds of veg and non-veg in typhoid except spicy and oily foods. He also told us that outside food is the only source of getting typhoid in children and adults and told us to limit giving outside food like street side breakfast, meals, snacks, fruits, etc.
What I didn’t understand is that normally adults or children who get typhoid, have symptoms like high fever, less appetite, full weakness, body pains, and headaches. But my son didn’t have any of the symptoms. He had a fever only for one day and had a cold for 5 days. But still, we continued to give his antibiotics. After one week of full recovery, he started to go to school again.
So this was my experience with my kid. I think recurrent fevers are due to a low immune system. There might be some other causes too like an infection in your child’s body, Typhoid, Bacterial infection, and other defects. So try to examine your child each and every time he gets a fever. Getting recurrent fevers is also a symptom of typhoid. Talk to your doctor in brief about his symptoms and the time period of the fever. Your doctor knows the best and will treat your child accordingly. Don’t do any blood tests, urine tests, or medical tests until your pediatrician says you to.
Other Causes of Recurrent Fever:-
- Less white blood cells.
- Genetic disorders inherited from parents.
- Tooth infection.
- Inflammation of the digestive tract.
- HIV Aids.
- Autoimmune disease.
- Your child has just started to go to school.
Symptoms of Recurrent Fever:-
- Fever every 15 to 20 days or every month.
- Fever comes along with a cold, cough, or no symptoms.
- The fever goes away after 3 to 5 days without using any antibiotics.
- Every time your kid gets a fever, he may have normal fever symptoms like hot skin, headache, fatigue, low appetite, weight loss, dehydration, etc.
- Only paracetamol is needed to control the fever for 3 to 4 days.
- Your child acts normally in between the periods of fever or after fever just like before.
- Your child may get a fever every time he plays with mud or outside, spends more time in the park or school, went out in hot or cold weather, had ice cream, had more junk food, drinks cold drinks or foods from the fridge.
When to call the doctor:-
- Persistent fever for more than 4 to 5 days.
- Loose motions.
- Swelling of face, hands, or legs.
- Rashes on the body.
- Continuously crying.
- 3 or more vomitings in a day.
- Not eating or drinking anything.
- Fever exceeding 103 degrees Celsius.
- Blood in stool or in vomiting.