Every parent will deal with the challenge of treatment of childhood fever at some point or another.
Fever (when the body temperature is higher than normal), is a symptom that something may be wrong.
A normal body temperature ranges from 36.6 – 37.2 degC (97.8F – 98.9F) in most people – some may have slightly lower or higher body temperature and be perfectly well.
However, if a child has a temperature of 37.5 degC (99.5F) and above, this is considered to be a fever.
Please realise they may or may not have other symptoms of illness if they have fever.
However, many children do show other problems when they have a high temperature such as being unsettled or unable to sleep.
Other symptoms include vomiting, fast breathing and sleeping a lot more than usual.
Accurate temperature measurements are usually taken using a thermometer from the mouth, underarm, ear (and the rectum in some cases).
At home, for children under the 5 years, the underarm method is preferred as their ear holes may be too little for the ear thermometers.
Measuring temperature using a forehead strip-thermometer is not as accurate as the other methods described above because it measures skin temperature rather than body temperature.
When your child’s temperature remains high despite efforts to reduce it, then its time to see your doctor.
The following graphic highlights actions needed in the treatment of childhood fever:
If a child has a fever, seek medical advice in the following cases:
the child has a temperature over 39 degC (102F) – in babies under 6 months temperature over 38 degC (101F)
if they have a fit for the first time
there are other symptoms including change to breathing, vomiting persistently, skin rash, excessively tired or sleepy
the fever has persisted for more than 72 hours
concern that something is ‘not right’ with the child
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