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Fever in Children: Signs and Treatment

  • Fever is defined as a higher than normal temperature. It’s very common in young children, but usually passes after 3-4 days.
  • A fever happens when the body’s natural defence starts fighting an underlying infection such as a cough, cold or flu. Fever can arise in common childhood illnesses, such as chickenpox or tonsillitis. Or it can be a response to vaccination.

Fever is one of the symptoms of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). If your child’s temperature is high, or if they have a continuous cough, contact your GP and mention their symptoms. Ibuprofen and paracetamol can be used for treating COVID-19 symptoms.

How to take a child's temperature

Forehead scanning temperature readers may be unreliable. If you think your child – or a child in your care, has a fever, use a digital thermometer to take their temperature. For under 5’s, it’s recommended to take the temperature from under the armpit, rather than mouth or ear, to get a more accurate reading. Hold the child on your lap, place the thermometer under their armpit, holding their arm down. It takes around 15 seconds for the reading to show.

For a more accurate reading, it’s best to wait a few minutes before taking your child’s temperature if they’ve been:

  • Wearing lots of clothes
  • Having a bath
  • Tucked up in a blanket
  • In a very warm room
  • Eating or drinking in the past 10 minutes.

Signs and symptoms of fever in children

If the child feels hotter than usual, has flushed cheeks or is shivering, they may be experiencing fever. Take their temperature with a thermometer. A normal child’s temperature is about 36.4°C to 37.7°C: it can vary, according to the individual and time of day. A high temperature is 38°C or above.

How to treat a fever?

Remember, lowering a child’s fever doesn’t resolve the underlying illness or issue. But it can help to make them feel better. You can help your child by managing the fever: keep them at home, and check on them regularly. Offer plenty of appetising drinks, and foods like yoghurt or ice lollies to help them stay cool and hydrated. Make sure the room they are in is well ventilated, or if they’re outside, make sure they are in the shade. If your child is over three months, give the recommended dosage of ibuprofen, like Nurofen for Children.

Why Ibuprofen can help

Ibuprofen relieves pain, fever and has anti-inflammatory properties. It works by reducing pain and swelling in the body, reducing pain, fevers and more.

Why Nurofen for Children can help

Nurofen for Children Fever and Pain Relief 100mg/5ml suspension lasts up to 8 hours for fever. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is fast-acting, starting to work to reduce fever in just 15 minutes. Available in strawberry or orange flavours and is free from artificial colours and flavours.

If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health matters for further information or medical advice, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist. Contains Ibuprofen. Always read the label.

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