Fever Advice

Most children with a fever do get better very quickly but some children can get worse.

You need to check your child regularly during the day and night and follow the advice in this leaflet.

If your baby or child has any of the following symptoms, you should take the recommended course of action:

If your child:
• becomes unresponsive;
• becomes blue;
• is finding it hard to breathe;
• has a fit; or
• develops a rash which does not disappear with pressure …
 
Action
 
You need urgent help.
Telephone 999 or go straight to your nearest Emergency Department.

If your baby or child

  • has symptoms which are getting worse;
  • feeds less than 50% of his or her usual amount;
  • is passing less urine than normal;
  • is vomiting more than three times in 24 hours;
  • has a temperature above 39°C

Action

You need to see a doctor or nurse today.
Please ring your GP’s surgery, out-of-hours GP service or call NHS 111.

If none of the above factors are present

Action

Care for your baby at home.

More Information

  • Most children with fever can be cared for at home. You should be given advice on how to care for your child and when to seek help by the health professional you have seen.
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen are medicines which can help lower your child’s temperature and make your child feel more comfortable but they do not treat the cause of the fever. It is okay to give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen if they have a fever and they are distressed or unwell.
  • These medicines should not be given at the same time, but if you give your child one medicine and it does not work you may wish to consider the other. You should always check the instructions on the bottle or packet, or ask your healthcare professional if you need more information.
  • Offer your child regular drinks. If you are breastfeeding then breast milk is best.
  • Look for signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, no tears, sunken eyes, or a sunken fontanelle (soft spot on a baby’s head).
  • Encourage your child to drink more fluids if they are dehydrated, and seek further advice if you are worried.
  • Do not over- or underdress your child.
  • Do not sponge your chiId with water. This does not help to reduce fever.
  • Check on your child regularly through the night.
  • Keep your child away from school or nursery while they have a fever and notify them of your child’s absence.
  • Watch for the development of a rash. The most worrying is a non-blanching rash (a rash that does not disappear with pressure).
  • To identify a non-blanching rash do the tumbler test. Press a glass tumbler firmly against the rash. If you can see the spots through the glass and they do not fade this is called a non-blanching rash.
  • If your child has a non-blanching rash you should seek medical advice immediately.

Source Meningitis Research Foundation