How to Care for Your Child with Fever
This leaflet will provide you with information about Fever causes, diagnosis, treatment and home care advices.
What is Fever?
- Fever occurs when the body's temperature is elevated above 100.4ºF (38ºC).
- Fever is a normal response to a variety of conditions, the most common of which is a viral and bacterial infections.
- Nearly all children will develop a fever at some point.
How is Fever diagnosed?
- Your child temperature can be measured in different ways
- Rectally: this is the most accurate reading and is done in hospital
- Orally: (in the mouth) using oral thermometer under the tongue. this method is suitable for children over 4 years
- Under the armpit: this is used for young children and infants who can’t hold thermometer in their mouth
- The doctor will ask few questions about your child’s health and examine your child. Your doctor will decide if further investigation or blood tests are required.
How is Fever treated?
- In most cases, a child with a fever can be observed and/or treated at home.
- The fever itself does not need to be treated unless your child:
- Feels uncomfortable
- has an underlying medical problem, including diseases of the heart, lung, brain or nervous system.
- If the fever is causing discomfort to your child, the doctor would advise to give medicine for the fever, for example:
- Paracetamol or Ibuprofen (any brand)
- Follow the instruction on the medicine package for the correct dose for your child
- Do not give your child Aspirin as this can cause serious complications
Home care advice
- Do not use glass mercury thermometer, they are dangerous if they break
- Ensure that your child drink plenty of fluids
- Ensure that your child gets enough rest
- Ensure that your child eats food, they may refuse to eat. Offer simple food and regular drinks.
- If your child is vomiting, offer small frequent drinks as this is more likely to stay in the stomach.
- Do not try to control your child’s temperature with lukewarm water sponging
- Ensure that your child vaccinations are up to date.
When should I seek medical advice?
Seek medical advice if your child:
- Is less than 3-month-old and has a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or greater
- Is any age over 3-month-old and has a temperature of 38°C or greater for two days or more.
- Has any medical problem, including diseases of the heart, lung, brain or nervous system.
- Has diarrhea that lasts more than two to three days or seems to be getting worse
- Has vomiting that goes on for more than one day
- Seems to be dehydrated, signs of dehydration include:
- Urinating less than usual
- Not having tears when crying
- Being less alert and less active than usual
- Has a specific symptom, such as:
- Sore throat or ear pain
- Pain when he or she urinates
- New skin rash that does not fade away when you press with clear glass.
- If you are concerned about your child
Go to the Emergency Department if your child:
- Does not respond to you, has trouble waking up
- Has trouble breathing
- Has blue lips, tongue, or nails
- Starts to lean forward and drool
- Has a stiff neck
- Has severe headache
- Has severe belly pain
- Has a rash or purple spot that look like bruises on the skin (that were not there before he or she got sick)
- Refuses to drink anything or seems too sick to drink enough
- Irritable and will not stop crying