Dr Mark Rosenthal

MD MB ChB FRCP FRCPCH BSc

Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

How to Treat Fever in Children?

Fever is one of the most common symptoms of viral infection in children, so it is important to know how to treat it and when to see a doctor.

viral infection in children

Checking Your Child’s Temperature

Viral infection in children doesn’t always result in a fever, but it is more common in younger people than in adults. Signs that your child might have a fever when he or she is ill include feeling hotter than normal when you touch them, sweating, and flushed cheeks. However, the best way to know for sure if your child has a fever is to take his or her temperature. You should add a digital, ear or strip thermometer to your medicine cabinet so you can check your child’s temperature easily. If it is above 38 degrees Celsius then your child has a fever.

When to See a Doctor

Having a fever can be very uncomfortable, but it isn’t usually a sign of anything serious. However, you should keep checking your child’s temperature and seek medical advice if:

  • A baby under three months old has a fever of 38 degrees or more
  • A baby between three and six months old has a fever over 39 degrees
  • A child older than six months has a fever of 39.4 degrees or more
  • Your child has other serious symptoms or they become unresponsive
  • Your child has a rash as well as a fever

Treating Fever in Children

If your child has a fever, it is usually possible to treat it at home. Most cases of viral infection in children will clear up within a week. You can help your child to feel more comfortable while they are getting better by following these tips:

  • Make sure your child is drinking plenty of fluids
  • Try to maintain a comfortable temperature in the room but don’t let your child get too hot or dress them too warmly
  • A cool, wet flannel on the forehead can be refreshing but there’s no need to undress or sponge bath your child as this won’t help with a fever
  • Children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen can help relieve fever and other symptoms, but make sure that you follow the instructions to ensure you give the right dose