The Chief Executive Officer, Outreach Group of Hospitals, Dr. Efunbo Dosekun, has stated that parents and guardians should recognise dangerous fevers in their children and access healthcare as quickly as possible, as it is a major cause of death in children.
She said with over 90 per cent of children brought to the hospital due to fever, there was need for those with dangerous fever to be given proper and prompt attention, as this often leads to death in children if not treated adequately.
Dosekun, who spoke at a press conference to sensitise the public on the dangers of fever in children, said the commonest causes of fever in children were infections, which she added must be identified, prevented and treated at the earliest available time.
Still stressing on the dangers of fever, the CEO said parents and guardians must not take fevers in their children likely. “Whether you regard it as simple fever or not, adequate attention must be given to it, otherwise, you might just be playing with dangerous fever which is deadly.
“You don’t just say simple fever or simple malaria and do self medication. Even if you are going to the community pharmacy, you must be able to have knowledge on whether it is a dangerous fever or not, so that you’ll have informed choice on what to do,” she said.
According to her, dangerous fever results in high grade fever or sepsis, adding that when sepsis is in progress, it could lead to shock and even death. “About 60 per cent of children who die in Africa have sepsis due to an overdrive of the body immune system, leading to destruction of organs by chemicals and enzymes.
“Sepsis is infection in a body that is associated with a lot of inflammation. Normally when a body comes across a bug or pathogen like malaria, it causes a reaction in the body, which then leads the immune system to attack the bug. This most times is done with the help of anti-malaria if the fever is caused by malaria, or with anti-viral drugs if it is due to virus.
“Every individual both doctors, parents and pharmacists, must be able to identify a dangerous fever because it’s only then they can move or escalate the level of care from patronising the pharmacy rather than the hospital or doctor.”
She stressed that with knowledge in the hands of Nigerians, there would not be room for blanket treatment. “We should be developed enough now within our hospital or primary care centres to be able to differentiate when a child has a dangerous fever. In High-grade fevers, you must presume that it’s sepsis, and babies and children with sepsis must be admitted to a high dependency hospital, resuscitated with fluids, specialised drugs, intravenous antimicrobial drugs and ideal temperature.
“However, the general symptoms and warning signs of sepsis includes fever greater than 38 degree celsius, temperature lesser than 36 degree celsius, fast breathing, fast heart beat rate, high rate of infection masks like C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Procalcilorin or ESR; reduced urine output and cold and clammy extremities,” adding that these vital signs must be monitored regularly. “If they are brought late, they would need critical care including oxygen, breathing machines, blood product transfusion, among others for stability,” she added.