Parents worry a lot about fever, especially the ones that come from illness.
Ironically, despite the sleepless nights that illness-related fevers cause, they are usually the result of the body's normal immune response to an infection. Except for rare occasions, the only time fever itself is dangerous is when it is coming from an outside source.
One common worry that parents have is that their sick child will develop a seizure with a high fever (called a febrile seizure).
Febrile seizures occur in 3% of children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. That means 97% of children will not develop seizures with fever. While 30% of children with febrile seizures will have more than one, most will not, and there typically will be no lasting problems.
On the other hand, people don't give as much thought to fever caused by the environment. When outside temperatures rise, so does heat-related illness.
Children and adolescents are at risk for heat illness if they exercise outside on a hot day, something to keep in mind now that school athletic practices are beginning.
Body temperature results from a balance between the heat generated by our cells and the heat "lost" to the environment. During exercise, heat is lost by increasing blood flow to the skin, breathing faster and sweating. (When sweat evaporates, it cools the body.)
Factors that increase the risk of heat-related illness during exercise include the following:
In addition, one of the most tragic events that can occur during warm weather is when infants or young children become accidentally trapped in a car.
The temperature inside a motor vehicle can quickly rise to more than 120 degrees even if it is only 80 degrees outside.
In this situation, the mechanisms that keep body temperature in the safe range can become overwhelmed. If a person's body temperature goes above 106 degrees, it can lead to serious complications including heat stroke and death.
According to the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University, 33 vehicle-related deaths occurred among children in 2011, and 23 deaths have already occurred this year.
The following recommendations reduce the possibility that children will become trapped in a motor vehicle:
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