Little Boy Playing Doctor


A fever is when the body’s temperature rises above 38°C. It is often a sign of infection in the body.

Fevers are common in children. Most are caused by viruses and do not need antibiotics. Sometimes however, they can be due to a bacteria which may require treatment.

You may want to take your child’s temperature if they are:

  • Unwell and feel hot

  • Irritable or crying

  • More sleepy than usual

  • Vomiting or refusing to drink

  • In pain

Caring for your child

Treat your child’s fever to make them more comfortable

  • Dress your child in enough clothing so they are not shivering

  • Give your child frequent small drinks of clear fluid (eg. Water, diluted fruit juice or cordial). If your child is younger than 6 months old, give extra breast feeds, bottles or cooled boiled water.

  • If the fever is above 38.5°C and your child is miserable or has other symptoms such as a sore throat, giving them paracetamolwill make them more comfortable. Paracetamol can be given every 4 hours as directed on the bottle. Do not give this for more than 2 days without seeing your doctor.

See your doctor if your child:

  • Complains of a stiff neck or light hurting their eyes

  • Vomiting or refusing to drink much

  • Rash

  • More sleepy than usual

  • Problems with breathing

  • Your child is in pain

It’s especially important to get your child checked if:

  • Your child is under 3 months old and has a fever

  • Your child’s fever is above 40°C