What is a fever?
A fever is an increase in your child’s body temperature. It is part of the body’s normal response to infections, and it plays an important role in fighting such infections. Your child’s temperature will return to normal when the infection has gone.
A child’s normal body temperature is 36.5°C–37.5°C when measured under their arm. A temperature of over 38°C indicates a fever.
Fever in babies can be a sign of serious illness or infection. If your child is 3 months or under and has a fever of 38°C or above, or if your child seems very sick, they need to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
These are easy to use and beep when they’re ready. Some also bend to mould into the shape of a child’s underarm. Taking your child's temperature under the arm is recommended as the easiest and safest method for young children, but may be up to 1°C lower than temperatures measured by mouth (a method suitable only for older cildren).
These are quicker (almost instantaneous) and easier to use and read, but more expensive. There are two types:
Do not sponge your child with water – this does not help to reduce a fever.
When it is an emergency
You should take your child to hospital or call 000 for an ambulance if:
What happens during a febrile convulsion?
During a febrile convulsion your child usually loses consciousness, their muscles may stiffen or jerk and they may also have difficulty breathing and go red or blue in the face. When the movements stop, your child will regain consciousness but remain sleepy or irritated afterwards.
Febrile convulsions are quite upsetting for parents to witness. Remember, most seizures will stop within seconds or a couple of minutes without any medical treatment.
Call an ambulance on 000 if:
Chapter 4 Your Child's Health