do I know if my child has a fever?
If your child feels hot to touch and looks red
or flushed, he or she
probably has a fever (a temperature over 37.5 degrees
centigrade). You can check this with a thermometer.
Try not to panic. Remember that children, especially
under the age of five, are much more likely to run a high temperature than adults.
Usually fever indicates an infection but in the majority of cases this infection
in children is caused by a virus rather than bacteria. Therefore, antibiotics
are unlikely to help and the most important issue is to lower the temperature
as a sustained high temperature in small children may lead to fits (febrile
can treat a fever by:
- Keeping your child cool by gently sponging them
with lukewarm (not cold) water and letting the water dry on the skin.
- Make sure your child does not have too many
layers of clothes or blankets on.
- Give your child extra drinks.
- Give your child paracetamol liquid. Read the
instructions on the bottle carefully and give the dose according to your child's
age. For babies it is helpful to use a special medicine syringe so you can
measure the dose accurately. Ask your pharmacist for one. If your child is
vomiting and cannot keep the liquid down, you can give paracetamol suppositories
which are available over the counter from your pharmacist. If necessary, give
your child a second dose 4-6 hours later.
- If your child's temperature is still high, contact
your doctor for advice.
things to remember:
- Do not give aspirin to children under 12 years
- Contact your doctor immediately if your child
has a temperature of 39 degrees centigrade or above, or has a fit, or has
a purplish rash which does not blanch on pressure (this may indicate meningitis).
- If the surgery is closed, go to your nearest
hospital accident and emergency department.
- Follow your instincts and speak to your doctor
if you are worried about your child.
- The majority of children who get febrile convulsions
do not suffer any long-term consequences and are not at any increased risk
of developing epilepsy later.
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