Richmond Practice - Fever in children

Fever in children
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How to tell when a child’s temperature is too high?

Is your child’s temperature too high?

A high fever does not necessarily mean your child has a serious illness. Fever is a sign of infection which is usually caused by a virus, but it may sometimes be due to bacteria. We treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. Virus infections, which are far more common, do not need antibiotics. Fever is a way in which the body fights infection and your child’s temperature will return to normal when the infection has completely gone.

Normal body temperature:
 between 36 and 38 Celsius
Fever:  above 37.6 and 38.5 Celsius
High fever:
 above 39 Celsius
Hyperthermia:  above 41 Celsius

How to manage the fever before visiting the doctor:

  1. Treat the fever if you feel it is making your child uncomfortable and irritable.
  2. Dress your child in light clothing – a vest and pants or nappy will be enough. Cover them with a cotton sheet if they start to shiver.
  3. Keep the room at normal temperature, or cooler, by opening the windows and use a fan to circulate air. (Do not aim the fan directly at your child.)
  4. Give them plenty of fluids to drink, small amounts frequently. Do not worry if your child refuses to eat.
  5. “Sponge” your child’s body and head with luke warm water using a face flannel if they are hot but do not let them shiver.

Consult your doctor if:
  • you are at all concerned
  • their fever continues for more than three days
  • your child develops a rash.
You can consult either our doctors or our paediatrician (including out of hours provision): 
  • to assist you in an emergency
  • to establish whether your child needs antibiotics
  • or for alternative homeopathic treatment.