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Helping the people of Leicester to have long and healthy lives.

Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group

Children: Fever

Fever is quite common in children, it’s the body’s way of fighting an infection.

A normal temperature in babies and children is about 36.4C, but this can vary slightly from child to child.

A fever is a high temperature of 38C or more.

Symptoms

Your child might:

  • feel hotter than usual to the touch on their forehead, back or tummy
  • feel sweaty or clammy
  • have red cheeks

What to do

You can usually look after your child or baby at home. Treat your child, not the number on the thermometer: if they are happy and playing they don’t need medicine, even if they are hot.

  • give them plenty of fluids
  • look out for signs of dehydration
  • give them food if they want it
  • check on your child regularly during the night
  • keep them at home
  • give them paracetamol or ibuprofen if they’re distressed or unwell

You can give your child some paracetamol or ibuprofen to make them feel better. Don’t give both paracetamol and ibuprofen at the same time though – you can give paracetamol first, and if that doesn’t really help, give ibuprofen after a couple of hours. Don’t give aspirin to children.

  • do not undress your child or sponge them down to cool them – fever is a natural and healthy response to infection
  • do not cover them up in too many clothes or bedclothes

Tiny babies are more at risk of serious infections: if they’re less than 3 months old, and their temperature goes over 38 degrees C, they should be seen by a doctor.

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