Looking for something?

Find it in our extensive resource library!

Smart Filters

  • Reset
  • Services

  • Who it's for

  • What it’s about

  • Format

View: 347

Download: 17

Emergency department advice for the care of children with fever

What is fever?

Normal body temperature is around 37C. A raised body temperature is often a sign of infection and is common in children when they are unwell.

A fever is a raised temperature of 38C or higher and is best measured using a digital thermometer if possible.

Your child may feel hot and sweaty and look shivery and flushed. Fever is the body’s normal response to fighting an infection.

Infections caused by viruses are more common than bacterial infections. Viruses often also cause a runny nose, cough or sore throat. Viruses get better on their own and don’t need antibiotics.

The temperature usually returns to normal within 3 to 4 days.

Fever is common after vaccinations in the first 1 to 2 days.

What can I do to help my child?

  • Offer and encourage regular fluids
  • Do not over or under dress your child
  • Give paracetamol (if over 3 months of age) or ibuprofen (if over 6 months of age) if your child is distressed or unwell.

Do not give both paracetamol or ibuprofen at the same time but consider the other medicine if the child does not respond to the first medicine after 30 to 60 minutes.

    • Paracetamol (Calpol) can be given every 4 hours
      • Do not give more than 4 doses in 24 hours
    • Ibuprofen can be given every 6 hours
      • Do not give more than 3 doses in 24 hours
    • Follow the dosing instructions on the bottle of your medicine – the doses change as children get older, so make sure you’re giving the right amount.
  • More information on paracetamol and ibuprofen can be found here: Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
  • Keep your child away from school or nursery while unwell
  • Consider whether you need to get a COVID-19 test for your child
  • Check on your child regularly
  • Look for a rash
  • Look for signs of dehydration which include:
    • going 10 hours without passing urine or fewer wet nappies
    • sleepy or floppy child
    • sunken eyes
    • changed breathing, either faster or slower and deeper
    • dry mouth, tongue and lips or no tears
    • soft spot in the top of babies head is sunken more than usual
    • when the skin is pinched gently it stays up for a second or two

Seek further medical advice if

  • Your child has a fit. Fits caused by fever are called febrile convulsions
  • Your child develops a rash which does not disappear under the pressure of a glass (see picture below)
  • You feel your child is getting worse
  • Your child is under 3 months with a fever over 38C
  • Fever lasts more than 5 days
  • Your child shows signs of dehydration
  • You are distressed or concerned that you cannot look after your child

Medical advice can be sought by calling NHS 111, seeking help from your local pharmacist (if non-urgent) or contacting your GP.

A rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is pressed firmly on the skin is more worrying. Seek medical advice urgently.

Rash shown under a glass

More advice on fever in childhood can be found here:

Fever / High Temperature :: Healthier Together (sybhealthiertogether.nhs.uk)

High temperature (fever) in children – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Download to print in other languages

For print-ready versions in other languages, please use the downloads below:

Arabic – Feverish child

Mandarin – Feverish child

Polish – Feverish child

Slovak – Feverish child

Somali – Feverish child

Urdu – Feverish child

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

Contact us

Disclaimer

Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: ED31

Resource Type: Article

How useful did you find this resource?*

NHS

Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

Interesting Facts


We’ve got a special MRI scanner just for teddies so children can see what it’s like before they have a scan.

Help to transform our extraordinary hospital into something even better.

Sheffield Children's@SheffChildrens
@CYCLING_SHEFF Theo loved getting to meet Henry! Thank you so much to the whole team for your support 💙

As of 6 July 2022 everyone (colleagues, patients and families) must wear a mask. This applies to all spaces across. all sitesMore information on how we are keeping you safe is available here.
+

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close