Fever in children is a result of a rise in body temperature, which is usually a symptom of an infection. Recurrent fevers in children, also referred to as chronic fevers, are fevers that occur in children repeatedly over time. Fever is a healthy symptom of the body in response to an infection that stimulates the immune system to fight infections and kill germs. Recurrent fevers can develop in children at different speeds and range from as low as 38 degrees C to as high as 40 degrees C.
Recurrent fevers can be the result of children contracting and experiencing a repeated series of colds or viral infections. Recurrent fevers in children may also be a result of relapsing infections, including malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis. Additional medical causes that trigger recurrent fevers are hyperthyroidism or other endocrine gland disorders, hereditary disorders, cancers such as kidney cancer and autoimmune diseases such as lupus or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Mild infections that trigger recurrent fevers in children can be treated with non-aspirin fever reducers to ease body aches, chills and other fever symptoms. Children with recurrent fevers should rest and drink plenty of liquids to prevent serious dehydration. Parents may use paediatric electrolyte rehydration solutions to maintain mineral levels and prevent dehydration. Children suffering from recurrent fevers may benefit from taking a lukewarm bath and then dressing in light clothing.
Serious underlying conditions such as autoimmune diseases, including lupus or hyperthyroidism, that are triggering recurrent fevers in children will require varying treatments, according to your paediatrician's recommendations and the type of infection involved.
In rare cases of recurrent fever, your paediatrician may not be able to diagnose the cause, which may require that your child undergo a positron emission tomography scan, also known as a PET scan. These types of scans are ideal for children, because they are minimally invasive and provide three-dimensional images of any organ within the body, such as the brain, heart or liver. PET scans usually provide early diagnostic results that will prevent invasive diagnostic testing to determine the cause of recurrent fevers.
Prevention of recurrent fevers in children can be a challenge for parents. Children are constantly exposed to germs, viruses and bacteria that can cause infections and result in recurrent fevers. The best prevention method for recurrent fevers is to teach your child to wash his hands regularly throughout the day. Children should practice regular hand washing, especially before meals, after using the rest room and after playing with and petting animals.
Children with a recurrent fever who are experiencing stiffness of the neck or the inability to bend their neck, as well as a pronounced sensitivity to light, should have medical attention immediately. These symptoms could be a sign of an underlying meningitis infection, which if not detected and treated early can have potentially life-threatening results.