How to Care for Your Child with Fever

This leaflet will provide you with information about Fever causes, diagnosis, treatment and home care advices.

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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