Home / Family Articles / Fevers in children

Fevers in children

high temprature in children

Written by:

Fevers in children are very common and are one of the main reasons why we take them to the doctors..

What is a fever?

When someone has a fever it means their temperature is very high. As a guide, in children under the age of five a temperature of 37.5C (99.5F) or above is described as a fever. For older kids and adults 38C (100.4F) is classed as a fever.

How can I tell if my child has a fever?

If your child’s face is hot and she looks a bit red and flustered then it is possible she may have a fever. You can tell what your child’s temperature is by using a thermometer. Pharmacies stock a range of different types of thermometer and many supermarkets sell them too.

Causes of fever

The majority of fevers are caused by infection or illness. The body’s natural defences kick in, boosting temperature to make it difficult for bacteria and viruses to survive. Other than infections, things like being wrapped up in too many blankets or having been immunised can cause high temperatures in children.

How to treat a fever

There are three main aims in treating fevers in children:

how to treat a feverReduce temperature:

To help your child’s temperature go down and to make her more comfortable you might want to strip her down to just her vest and nappy or pants. Place a sheet over her if she likes to be covered over. Maintain a temperature of around 18C in the room and open a window now and again to let some fresh air in. You can give children paracetamol or ibuprofen to help reduce fever and discomfort. Don’t give both at the same time and make sure you follow the dosage instructions carefully. Aspirin should not be used to treat children under 16 years old.

Prevent dehydration:

It is important that your child stays hydrated. Even if she doesn’t feel like drinking anything encourage her to sip a little often. If your child doesn’t want any food then don’t labour the point, getting fluid down her is more important than eating. Children who are breastfeeding should be encouraged to follow their normal breastfeeding routine.

Assess for signs of a more serious illness:

Obviously you should keep an eye out for symptoms getting worse. If you’ve been treating a fever and the temperature is getting higher or the fever has lasted five days or longer then you should speak to your health visitor or doctor.

Medical treatment

Some fevers don’t appear to have an obvious cause and others are mild and disappear as quickly as they arrived. However, some do need medial attention. If your doctor diagnoses a viral infection you’ll be given advice on giving paracetamol or ibuprofen and making your child more comfortable as antibiotics won’t have any effect. Bacterial infections can be treated at home using antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. Children showing symptoms of bacterial septicaemia or meningitis or who are suffering from dehydration will usually be transferred to hospital for treatment.

Symptoms to be aware of

If your child has any other signs of illness, has a particularly high temperature of 38C or over if under three months old/39C or over if a little older, has spots that don’t disappear under pressure or hasn’t taken anything to drink in the last eight hours then you should always seek the opinion of a medical professional.





About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

View all posts by