Fevers are said to be recurrent if they occur three or more times within a span of 6 months. There is a gap of at least 7 days between two episodes of fever. Recurrent fevers are common in children. The pattern of fever can be regular or irregular. Fever in children is often accompanied with other symptoms such as cold, cough, vomiting, appetite loss etc. Rise in body temperature may vary. It can be high fever or moderate.
The cause of some fevers is known while in many cases fever in children is of unknown origin.High fever is more concerning among children below the age of two years as it can cause febrile convulsions. Let us know the different causes of recurrent fever and how you can take care of your child during this period.
What Causes Recurring Fevers In Children?
Recurrent fever can be caused due to wide range of pathologies. They can be primarily grouped under infectious and non infectious variety.
- Among children below the age of 6 years the most common cause of multiple episodes of fever is recurrent respiratory tract infection.
- Dental abscess: Dental carries and infection are common in children. An infection in tooth can lead to dental abscess. This infection can recur from time to time.
- Sinusitis: Bacterial infection in sinus is common malady among children. It usually develops secondary to recurrent cold and cough. The sinuses are filled with infected mucus. Fever, pain and nose block are common symptoms. Children suffering from nasal polyps or deviated nasal septum are also susceptible to get sinusitis.
- Malaria infection is another cause for recurrent fever in children. The disease is transmitted in humans through mosquitoes. It is caused due to plasmodium group of protozoa. Especially plasmodium vivax infection is known to cause recurrent fever.
- Viral infections such as EB virus infection can cause frequent fever in children. Most virus infections whether related to upper respiratory tract or gastro intestinal tract affect children as their immune system is still in the developing stage.
Non infectious causes:
- Recurrent fever can occur in Crohn’s disease. It can manifest in adolescent children. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease in which together with fever, the child may have frequent loose stools, and discomfort in abdomen.
- Behcet’s disease is another cause for recurrent fever in children. It is an autoimmune disorder which can affect people of any age. The disease causes mouth ulcer, genital ulcer, inflammation in the eyes, pain in joints and ulcer in intestines.
- Malignancy should always be ruled out even if most cancers are known to have continuous and prolonged fever. Among children, lymphomas, myelomonocytic leukemia, are known to cause recurrent fever.
Children can suffer from recurrent fever if they have diabetes insipidus. Intake of certain drugs can also cause recurrent fever.
How To Treat Recurrent Fevers In Child?
Most recurrent fevers in pediatric age or childhood are self limited. They commonly occur due to bacterial or viral infection. Once their immune level starts developing or becomes strong with growing age, the episodes of fever start reducing. The main aim of treatment is to know the underlying cause. Once the reason is known, it becomes easy for the physician to start the treatment.
However, certain basic steps will be useful for the parents when they have such type of fever in their child.
- Place a cool wash cloth on the forehead of the child. In case of high fever, sponging the whole body will bring down the temperature. Even tepid bath can help to bring down the temperature to normal.
- Cover the child with light blanket instead of warm woolen blanked and too much of covering. This increases body heat.
- Allow the child to drink fluids liberally. It helps to fight dehydration which is common in children during fever.
Once the pediatrician examines and diagnosis the condition, give the child prescribed medications.