A fever is a body temperature over 38 degrees Celsius.
Fever in children is a normal response to many illnesses, the most common being an infection in the body.
The common infection is a virus that doesn’t require any treatment. Some fevers are caused by bacterial infections that need antibiotics.
Fever in children is one of the most common reasons to present to an emergency department. As a paediatric Nurse of almost a decade and the founder of Rhythm First Aid I’ve cared for literally thousands of babies and children with fevers.
Fever itself is usually not harmful – in fact, it helps the body's immune system fight off infection.
It is more important for you to monitor any symptoms of the underlying illness, rather than the fever itself.
It is important that you focus on how you child looks and feels, rather than becoming fixated on the fever.
Parents are often concerned with the fever, health professionals are usually more concerned about what is causing the fever and not what the temperature is. For example, does the child have a cough, runny nose, runny nose, vomiting, rash, diarrhoea etc.
There is one exception to all of this and that is if your baby is under three months and has a fever above 38°C, then you should see a doctor, even if they have no other symptoms.
Treatment: How can I help my sick child with a fever?
If your child seems well and is happy, there is no need to treat a fever.
Here are some tips to help you help your child.
Offer your child frequent small drinks. Many children lose their appetite when they are unwell. This is expected and is ok for a few days as long as they remain hydrated.
For babies under 6 months, offer them extra formula and/or breastfeeds. For babies over 6 months, in addition to offering formula and/or breast, you can also offer them water or oral rehydration solutions. It’s best to offer smaller amounts of fluid, but more often.
Administer paracetamol and/or ibuprofen if the fever is making them miserable, if they are in pain or discomfort. Always carefully follow the dosage instructions on the packaging. Do not give ibuprofen to babies under three months old or to any child who is dehydrated. Remember, never give aspirin to children under 12 years.
Other ways that you can help to relieve an older child’s pain or discomfort caused by a fever is by sponging them with a cool face-washer or providing them with their BodyICE Kids Gel Packto play with. It’s important that they don’t become too cold or uncomfortable when you do this.
Personally, I love Kai the Koala!
All of these measures are helping to improve the comfort levels of the child.
Lowering your child’s fever will not help treat the underlying illness more quickly.
It’s important to remember that a fever rarely causes harm and its really helpful at helping to fight off the infection.
When to see a doctor?
If your baby is under three months of age and they have a fever they should be seen by a doctor, even if they have no other symptoms.
If a child has had a fever for over 48 hours with no obvious cause.
If they have worrying symptoms such as a stiff neck or the light hurting their eyes, severe pain, lethargy, breathing problems, non-blanching rash or if you are concerned.
Our guest blog has been written by Nicole Gleeson, Paediatric and Emergency Nurse and Founder of Rhythm First Aid. Rhythm travels throughout Victoria, offering it's Nationally Recognised CPR + First Aid Training for businesses, schools, and corporate clients, along with Infant + Child First Aid Courses that are uniquely designed to educate and empower parents, grandparents, and caregivers with crucial skills, such as CPR and choking first aid.
Rhythm First Aid offer a large range of first aid and medical supplies, along with their own bespoke, functional first aid kit, that ensures households are never left short in an emergency again.
Information in this blog is for educational purposes only. The information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your healthcare professional. Rhythm First Aid accepts no liability for any loss or damages suffered by any person as a result of any information or advice.
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