Stress can cause fever in kids

Stress can cause fever in kids

During exam season, it is common for students to get psychogenic fever, a condition induced by anxiety.

Frequent breaks while studying and relaxation techniques can reduce stress in children preparing for examinations.

It is common to be stressed when exams approach. But is your child suffering from fever during exam?

Then he/she might probably be suffering from psychogenic fever - a stress-induced condition. 

Akanksha Pandey. consultant clinical psychologist, Fortis Hospital, explains that during normal fever the temperature increases because of a viral infection or any kind of biological cause but psychogenic fever is a stress-related psychosomatic condition. People develop very high temperature when they are stressed. 

She says, “It can be called psychogenic fever only when there are no internal biological causes to it. It is important to observe whether fever develops during a psycho-socially stressful situation. One should also see if the high temperature is not normalised by usual antibiotics like paracetamol but is controlled by psychotropic drugs which may have anti-anxiety properties.” 

Psychogenic fever, she says, is triggered by stress that is either physical or psychological.

“The moment our brain perceives that something is threatening or stressful, it affects our nervous system. When there is stress, the hypothalamus is activated which is responsible for the equilibrium of the body. It increases body temperature and further activates the adrenal and pituitary gland which releases a lot of stress hormones. During all this, the immune system gets suppressed, leading to fever or cold,” Akanksha told Metrolife. 

Parents have a big role to play

Neha Cadabam

It has been observed that stress levels of kids rise during exams. 

Since the child is already quite anxious, parents should make sure they help their kids calm down. 

This can be done by setting realistic expectations and acknowledging their efforts time and again.  

“It is very important for parents to spend quality time with their kids during exams. When they listen more, the child gets the confidence to confide in his/her parents and share their insecurities and anxieties,” she observes.  

Active communication is another important aspect that parents should keep in mind, says Neha Cadabam, consultant psychologist, Cadabams Hospitals. 

Akanksha Pandey

Though many parents say that they don’t put pressure on their child, Neha feels that conversations like
‘you should have planned your routine earlier’ or ‘you have the capability to score 90 per cent’, subtly pushes one to perform better and make them feel stressed.

“Some amount of stress is good for a child. It makes them productive but too much of it can become unmanageable. Parents can identify, observe and absorb how their child is behaving,” she says. 

What and how parents communicate with the child is important, observes Neha. “There are times when parents pass on their own stress to the kid. This can be seen when a parent says, ‘it is more like I am giving the exam’, this kind of conversation can put a lot of pressure on the child,” she adds. She believes that breaks in between studies are important. This helps to refresh one’s mind.

What a child can do to de-stress

- Take breaks. Identify what makes you feel good and relaxed. It can be a sport, hobby, jog, walk or simply spending time with a friend. 

- Break doesn’t mean digital inclusion. Avoid gaming, mobile phones, etc. 

- Playing with a pet can be relaxing. 

- De-stress by venting out -- expressing verbally

- De-stress by nonverbal expressions - bursting bubbles in bubble wrap, colouring and diary writing.

- Innovative ways to study - Mindmapping, group studies can make studying fun and not a punishment. 

- Mind what you eat. Avoid junk and go for colourful fruits and vegetables. 

- Relaxation techniques like meditation can help relieve stress to a great extent. 

- Don’t give up on sleep. Get enough of it. 

- Taking a warm water bath is relaxing too. 


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