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Fever and your child

Fever and your child

Fever, which is a high temperature, is common in children. It’s a normal response to many illnesses, the most common being an infection in the body.

Fever itself is usually not harmful, in fact it helps the body’s immune system fight off infection.

While your child’s fever is concerning to you, doctors will usually be more concerned about what is causing the fever and not what your child’s temperature is.

It is more important for you to monitor any signs of the underlying illness, rather than the fever itself. So, if your child seems well and is happy there is no need to treat that fever.

The signs to look out for to let you know your child has a fever:

  • When your child’s temperature reads above 38 degrees on a thermometer
  • Unwell or hot to touch
  • Irritable crying
  • More sleepy than usual
  • Vomiting
  • Refusing to drink
  • Shivering or in pain.

If your baby is under three months of age and has a fever above 38 degrees then you should see a doctor, even if they have no symptoms.

If your child is over three months of age, only use medicines such as Paracetamol for relieving pain, and if your child is irritable. You don’t need to use medication to reduce the temperature.

Give your child frequent small drinks, as many children refuse to eat when they have a fever or are feeling unwell. This is not a problem as long as they stay hydrated.

If your child is under six months of age and you are breastfeeding offer extra breastfeeds. If you are formula feeding offer the usual amount of formula

If your baby is older than six months keep breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

You can also offer your child water or oral rehydration solutions which are available from your pharmacy.

Dress child in enough clothing so that they are not too hot and not too cold. If your child is shivering, add another layer of clothing or blanket until they stop. Do not try to reduce the temperature by cooling your child as cold baths and showers are not recommended.

Just make sure your child is comfortable

Red flags to look out for when a child has a fever are reduced wet nappies, not eating and drinking, irritable, vomiting and refusing to drink, more sleepy than usual, fever with a difficulty breathing, fever with a rash or sensitivity to light or a stiff neck, or they seem to be getting worse or have a prolonged fever.

You can find out more about Fever here.

Article and video supplied by ParetMedic