Child Fever Talking Nonsense

Child Fever Talking Nonsense


Fevers are a common part of childhood. However, sometimes a high fever can lead to more serious symptoms, including delirium. This article aims to provide an understanding of this potentially frightening condition and offers guidance on when to seek medical attention.

The Link Between High Fever and Poor Thinking Skills

Understanding the connection between high fever, poor thinking skills, and delirium can help parents recognize the symptoms early and seek appropriate medical attention.

High Fever and Its Impact

High fever, particularly very high fever, can have a profound impact on a child’s brain function. The increased body temperature can interfere with the normal functioning of the brain, leading to symptoms like confusion, hallucinations, and poor thinking skills. These symptoms are key indicators of delirium.

When a child is experiencing a high fever, they may exhibit signs of delirium such as reduced awareness of their environment, difficulty staying focused on a task, or becoming easily distracted.

They may also show changes in their activity levels, ranging from hyperactive delirium, where they are overly active and agitated, to hypoactive delirium, where there is little or no activity, and they show little response to their surroundings.

Different Types of Delirium

Delirium can be categorized into three types: hyperactive delirium, characterized by increased activity and restlessness; hypoactive delirium, marked by little or no activity and a lack of response to stimuli; and mixed delirium, which includes symptoms of both types.

Hyperactive vs Hypoactive Delirium

Hyperactive delirium may cause your child to be restless and have difficulty falling asleep. Conversely, children with hypoactive delirium may have little response to stimuli and appear lethargic.

Night Terrors and Fever-Induced Delirium

High fevers can also trigger night terrors, which can further contribute to delirium. These can be particularly scary and distressing for both the child and parents.

Why Delirium Occurs: The Underlying Conditions

Delirium can be caused by several underlying conditions, including severe infection, electrolyte imbalances, or a very high fever. Identifying and treating these conditions is crucial to managing delirium.

Impact of Electrolyte Imbalances

Low sodium levels, in particular, can disrupt brain function and contribute to delirium. Maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help prevent this.

The Role of Sleep and Fever

Lack of sleep and high fevers can both trigger delirium. Ensuring your child gets adequate sleep and managing their fever can help reduce the risk.

Recognizing Symptoms When Delirium Occurs in Children

Recognizing delirium in children can be challenging as the symptoms can often be mistaken for other conditions. However, there are some key signs to look out for.

Reduced Mental Abilities and Awareness


Confused Thinking:

The child may have trouble understanding conversations, may speak in a way that doesn’t make sense, or may seem out of touch with reality. This can often be more noticeable after the child has woken up from sleep or during the night.


The child might see or hear things that aren’t there. This can be particularly noticeable during night terrors, where the child wakes up screaming or crying and seems scared or confused.

Changes in Behavior:

The child might show unusual behavior such as being overly active (hyperactive delirium), or showing very little activity or response (hypoactive delirium).

Changes in Sleep Patterns:

Delirium can disrupt a child’s sleep. They might have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or experience night terrors.

If your child shows any of these signs and they have a high fever, it’s important to consult with a doctor. Early intervention can help manage the symptoms of delirium and treat the underlying cause, thus ensuring your child’s swift recovery.

Handling Delirium: Tips for Parents

Managing a child with delirium can be a challenging task for parents. Here are some tips to help you navigate this situation effectively:

Maintain a Calm Environment

Delirium can make children more sensitive to their surroundings. Loud noises, bright lights, or other sounds can be distressing. Maintain a quiet, dimly lit room to keep them comfortable. Make sure their bed is cozy and inviting, to encourage sleep.

Stay Present and Reassuring

Your child may feel scared or confused during a delirium episode. Your presence and reassurance can help them feel safe. Speak to them in a soothing voice, holding their hand or sitting beside their bed. Let them know that you’re there and they’re not alone.

Monitor Symptoms Closely

Keep a close eye on your child’s symptoms. If they’re showing signs of reduced mental abilities or awareness, have a high fever, or if their delirium becomes hyperactive or hypoactive, it may be time to seek medical attention.

Encourage Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in the recovery from delirium. Encourage your child to rest and make sure their room is conducive to sleep. This could mean adjusting the room temperature, using blackout curtains, or employing white noise to drown out any disturbing sounds.

In my case using blackout curtains helped a lot as my child fell asleep easily.

Maintain Hydration and Nutrition:

Delirium can occur due to electrolyte imbalances caused by inadequate hydration and nutrition. Make sure your child is drinking plenty of fluids and eating a balanced diet. This can also help manage their fever and reduce the risk of delirium.

Stay Patient

Delirium can last for a few days to weeks. Stay patient and focused on your child’s recovery. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed but remember that with proper care, your child will recover.

Seek Medical Attention

If your child’s symptoms worsen, or if the fever persists for more than a few days, seek medical attention immediately. Early intervention is key to managing delirium effectively.

Remember, you’re not alone. Reach out to your child’s doctor or a support group if you need help managing this challenging situation. Your child’s health and well-being are of the utmost importance.

Treatment, Recovery, and Management of Delirium

The treatment, recovery, and management of delirium in children involve a multifaceted approach that includes medical intervention, home care, and targeted strategies to address the underlying condition causing delirium.

Medical Treatment

Once a diagnosis of delirium has been made, the doctor will first aim to treat the underlying medical condition, causing the delirium. This could be an infection, electrolyte imbalance, or other medical conditions. If your child has a high fever, the doctor may recommend fever-reducing medications. In severe cases, hospitalization might be required for close monitoring and treatment.

Home Care

As part of home care, ensuring your child’s comfort is crucial. Create an environment that is quiet and free from distractions as children with delirium can become easily distracted and agitated. Make sure they’re getting enough sleep. This might involve establishing a sleep routine or making changes to their bedroom to make it more conducive to sleep.

Maintain a balanced diet and ensure your child stays hydrated. This is especially important if the delirium is caused by an electrolyte imbalance. Offering small, frequent meals and plenty of fluids can help.

Managing Underlying Conditions

If the delirium is due to an underlying condition, managing that condition is key to treating delirium. For instance, if the delirium is due to a low sodium level, the doctor might recommend dietary changes or medications to correct this.

Recovery and Management

Recovering from delirium can take time, and it’s important to stay patient and focused on your child’s recovery. Keep a close eye on their symptoms and report any changes to their doctor. Encourage your child to engage in light activities when they’re feeling up to it, but also ensure they’re getting plenty of rest.

In some cases, your child might experience poor memory or have trouble recalling recent events. This is normal and usually improves over time. Engage your child in simple cognitive exercises to improve their mental abilities.

Understanding and responding to your child’s needs during their recovery can make a significant difference in their healing process. Remember, you’re not alone – don’t hesitate to reach out to healthcare professionals for guidance during this time.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If your child’s fever persists for more than a few days, if they’re showing signs of delirium, or if their symptoms worsen, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. Early intervention is key to managing delirium effectively.


Understanding and recognizing the signs of delirium in children is crucial for their health and safety. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if your child shows signs of delirium. With proper care and management, most children can recover fully from these episodes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a high fever cause delirium in children?

Yes, a very high fever can disrupt brain function and cause delirium in children.

2. What are the signs of delirium in children?

Signs of delirium may include confused thinking, hallucinations, reduced awareness, hyperactivity or hypoactivity, and difficulty staying focused.

3. How can I help my child during a delirium episode?

Try to keep their environment quiet and comfortable, reassure them that they’re safe, and seek immediate medical attention.

4. How long does delirium last in children?

With proper medical intervention and care, children usually recover from delirium within a few weeks.

5. Can delirium be prevented?

While not all cases of delirium can be prevented, ensuring your child gets enough sleep, maintains a balanced diet, and stays hydrated can help reduce the risk.





This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.