Health Resources

Fever (Children)

What Is Fever

While most fevers in children are due to minor infections, the degree of fever does not always correspond to the severity of the illness. The effectiveness of paracetamol in reducing fever is not an indicator of the severity of the condition.

Causes Of Fever

A child is considered to have a fever if their body temperature exceeds:

  • 37.5°C orally
  • 37.3°C under the armpit or
  • 37.8°C in the ear
Signs And Symptoms Of Fever

Your child has a fever if his or her body temperature is above:

  • 37.5°C in the mouth,
  • 37.3°C under the armpit or
  • 37.8°C in the ear
Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Fever

For infants less than three months old, avoid administering medication without consulting a healthcare provider. Children older than three months can be given paracetamol in a liquid, tablet or suppository (rectal) form. Ibuprofen may be prescribed for higher fevers.

Avoid using aspirin or aspirin-containing medications unless specifically directed by a healthcare provider. Medications may reduce fever but do not address its underlying cause.

Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Fever

Regularly monitor the child's temperature and ensure they are dressed in lightweight clothing and receive plenty of fluids. Increased rest is beneficial. Be vigilant for symptoms indicating the progression to a more serious infection and seek immediate medical attention if necessary.

If any of the following symptoms develop, seek immediate care at the Children's Emergency:

  • Difficulty in waking or excessive sleepiness
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Unusual weakness or inability to stand.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Appearance of small, purple skin spots resembling bruises.
  • Persistent crying that cannot be consoled.
  • Unusual skin coloration (gray, pale, or blue)
  • Seizures or convulsions.
  • New symptoms.
  • Pain or distress during urination.
  • Foul-smelling urine, potentially indicating a urinary tract infection.

Bring your child to the Children's Emergency immediately if your child:

  • Is difficult to awaken. Fever may make children sleepier than usual but they should awaken easily and be able to interact with you.
  • Seems confused or delirious.
  • Is not moving or too weak to stand.
  • Has problem breathing.
  • Develops small purple spots on the skin that may look like bruises.
  • Cries constantly and you cannot settle him or her.
  • Has a skin colour that does not look right or becomes grey, pale or blue.
  • Has a fit (seizure or convulsion).
  • Develops new symptoms.
  • Cries when he or she goes to the bathroom.
  • Has foul smelling urine. He or she may have a urine infection.
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