Fever Fact Sheet

A child is considered to have a fever when the body’s temperature is higher than normal which is 36.5 - 37.5 C.
A low grade fever is not harmful to the body so it is usually not necessary to treat the fever.

Causes of Fever:

Over 90% of all fevers in children are due to viral infections like colds and flu’s. These viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Bacterial infections can also cause a fever and can be treated by antibiotics.

Fever in itself is not bad, however it is important to investigate babies under 3 months of age who have a fever as their immune system is weak.

What to do at Home:

  • Dress your child in enough clothes to keep them comfortable. Do not allow them to shiver
  • Keep them in a cool ventilated room
  • Encourage your child to drink to keep them hydrated and to increase their calories so they can fight the infection. Suggested fluids are water, gastrolyte (Paedolyte) icy-poles, ice-cream, jelly and fruit juices
  • Give Paracetamol according to the instructions on the bottle. Remember only 4 doses in 24hr period.
  • DO NOT cool children by placing them in a tepid or cold bath
  • DO NOT cool with cold cloths
  • DO NOT place babies and children under a fan or air conditioner.

These methods of cooling may lower the temperature too quickly which in turn may cause a sudden spike in temperature and a febrile convulsion.

When to see a doctor:

If your child:

  • has a fever and is less than 3 months of age
  • has any underlying illness for example, congenital heart problems, diabetes or leukemia
  • has suffered a febrile convulsion
  • seems very sick and lethargic
  • is difficult to feed and has reduced wet nappies than normal
  • appears to have pain i.e pulling at his/her ear
  • has difficulty swallowing or is drooling excessively from the mouth
  • is vomiting and /or has diarrhoea
  • has neck stiffness or the light is hurting their eyes
  • cries constantly and is difficult to settle
  • has a rash
  • does not settle after giving paracetamol
  • has a fever for more than 2 days and is not improving
  • has travelled overseas recently
  • has been in contact with someone with a serious infection.
  • If you are concerned.

Disclaimer:

This information has being prepared by Laura Mulcahy for First Aid Demonstrations and has being gained through current journals, conferences, workshops, study days and Paediatric Best Practice Treatments and Guidelines from various Paediatric Hospitals throughout Australia. This information should be used as a guideline only. Please speak to your Health Care Professional if you have concerns about your child’s condition.

Fact Sheets

Fever Fact Sheet

Bronchiolitis

Febrile Convulsions

Croup

Head Injuries

 

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