Fever is very common in children. It is usually caused by an infection, but it may also be caused by some other illness.
Parents cannot tell how serious an illness is by how high the fever is. A child with a mild infection could have a very high fever, while a child with a very severe infection might have no fever at all. The way a child acts or behaves is a more important sign. If you’re worried by your child’s behaviour, call your doctor.
Check for fever by taking the child’s temperature in the mouth, ear or under the arm. A child has a fever when the temperature is 38.5°C or higher.
The following steps can help bring the fever down and make the child more comfortable:
The right method for children depends on the child’s age. For older children and teenagers, use the adult method. Write the temperature down so you can tell the doctor.
Then ear, then armpit.
There are several types of thermometer. Digital thermometers are made of unbreakable plastic and measure temperatures quickly. They display the temperature so it is easy to read.
If you have any questions when you buy a thermometer, ask the pharmacist, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
An ear thermometer may give a temperature reading that is lower than your child’s actual temperature.
You can tell if someone has a fever by touching his or her skin. They may have a fever if:
A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child caused by a rapid rise of body temperature. Most seizures occur within the first day of the child becoming sick and not always when the fever is the highest. Sometimes the seizure is the first sign of a fever in an infant or child.
Your child may:
If your child has a history of febrile seizures and has a fever:
Print these pages as featured in the guide book, Sneezes & Diseases: A Resource Book for Caregivers & Parents.