A fever is a natural way that your child’s body fights off infections. It typically develops when your child’s immune system releases chemicals that elevate the temperature of the body. Because an elevated temperature causes discomfort and fussiness, it continuously interrupts sleep and makes nap time difficult for your child.
A fever ranges anywhere from a mild 99 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or more; the higher fevers are extremely dangerous. They last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Symptoms are typically troubling and include muscle shakiness when your child wakes up, muscle aches, tiredness, profuse sweating, refusal to eat, loss of appetite, lethargy and general weakness. If severe enough, fevers often trigger confusion, dehydration and even convulsions or hallucinations in your child.
A viral infection, such as the common flu or cold, can trigger a fever that easily disrupts a child’s nap time. A bacterial infection, like an ear infection or strep throat, also causes symptoms. In addition, children often develop a fever after being immunized. Because a child’s body does not always regulate her body temperature properly, overdressing your child at naptime, bundling her in blankets or running a heater in her bedroom often triggers a fever. Teething also raises your child’s temperature; however, it is not responsible for fevers over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wet a wash cloth and rub it gently all over your child’s body to lower his fever. Alternatively, soak him in a tub of lukewarm water. Give your child the appropriate dosage of acetaminophen every four to six hours. If it does not bring your child’s fever down and your pediatrician approves, give him ibuprofen at the same time. Provide plenty of cool liquids, such as water and juice, to control his temperature and help him fall back to sleep.
Seek immediate medical attention if your child is between 3 months to 3 years old and develops a fever of 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. This often signals a serious condition or infection. Call a pediatrician if your child refuses to drink anything, has a fever longer than 24 hours, persistently vomits or the fever reoccurs at nap time or bedtime often.