Evaluation of Fever in infants and young children.
Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA. American family physician
(Impact Factor: 2.18).
Febrile illness in children younger than 36 months is common and has potentially serious consequences. With the widespread use of immunizations against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b, the epidemiology of bacterial infections causing fever has changed. Although an extensive diagnostic evaluation is still recommended for neonates, lumbar puncture and chest radiography are no longer recommended for older children with fever but no other indications. With an increase in the incidence of urinary tract infections in children, urine testing is important in those with unexplained fever. Signs of a serious bacterial infection include cyanosis, poor peripheral circulation, petechial rash, and inconsolability. Parental and physician concern have also been validated as indications of serious illness. Rapid testing for influenza and other viruses may help reduce the need for more invasive studies. Hospitalization and antibiotics are encouraged for infants and young children who are thought to have a serious bacterial infection. Suggested empiric antibiotics include ampicillin and gentamicin for neonates; ceftriaxone and cefotaxime for young infants; and cefixime, amoxicillin, or azithromycin for older infants.
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