Book an appointment online

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 15:22

Fever in Your Child Featured

Fever in your child

The vast majority of fevers in children are caused by minor and self-resolving viral illnesses. But, rarely, they can be an indicator of more severe illness. So, when can you relax and let their natural immunity fight off the illness and when do you need to seek medical care?

A fever is considered to be a temperature above 38 degrees in a child usually measured these days by an ear temperature. This a great link to how to measure and interpret the temperature depending on the way it is measured:

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/taking_your_childs_temperature.html

Fever can be due to non-infectious causes such as some reactions to medications, vaccinations and immune diseases. These are rare. Mostly fever is caused by infection, which may be due a virus or bacteria. A fever is a sign that the bodies immune system is working to protect itself from the infection and in itself is not a bad thing.

You should seek medical care for your child’s fever (>38 degrees) if:

  • The child is under 3 months of age
  • They have other serious medical conditions or have a compromised immune system
  • They have a rash
  • They are more sleepy than usual or lethargic
  • They are vomiting or refusing to drink
  • They have a stiff neck or light is hurting their eyes
  • They have problems with breathing
  • They have pain not improved by pain medication
  • The fever is above 40 degrees
  • They seem to be getting more unwell
  • They have had the fever for more than 2 days

If your child is well and happy there is no need to even treat the fever other than to observe them for change. If they are uncomfortable with the fever or other aspects of their illness such as a sore throat or a headache then it is reasonable to use paracetamol or ibuprofen (Nurofen).

But what about the risk of a febrile convulsion?

About 1 in 30 children will have a febrile convulsion at some stage. Although frightening at the time they are not harmful to the child and do not cause brain damage. The use of paracetamol or ibuprofen has not been shown to prevent them so they are not recommended for this purpose. The following link gives some great advice on febrile convulsions:

https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Febrile_Convulsions/

At Busselton Medical Practice we realise that it can be difficult when your child is sick to know when you should seek medical care. If you have any queries then please ring and speak to one of our experienced and friendly nurses who can help advise you and if necessary arrange for your child to see the doctor.

More in this category: « Anxious Children Teething »