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Baby and Child First Aid

Questions and answers about first aid for children: fever

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

What is a fever?

Answer
Answer

A fever is a body temperature that is raised higher than the normal temperature of about 37°C. Fever is usually caused by an infection, which may present as an earache or a sore throat. Moderate fever is not usually harmful, but should be monitored carefully in case it develops into something more serious.

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Q

Can I give paracetamol syrup to my baby?

Answer
Answer

If your baby is under three months old you should not give paracetamol syrup, unless advised by a doctor. If they are older than three months then you could give them the recommended dose.

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Q

Should I put my baby or child in a cold shower or bath, or sponge them down to cool them?

Answer
Answer

No. It is not recommended to sponge a baby or child down to cool them. It is important not to cool them too quickly. Putting a baby or child in a cold shower or bath would be distressing and may induce hypothermia.

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Q

Could a fever be a sign of something more serious?

Answer
Answer

Yes. It is important to monitor the baby or child for other symptoms, such as a severe headache, and if you are in any doubt, seek medical advice.

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Q

Is it true a fever or high temperature can cause a febrile seizure?

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Answer

Yes, febrile seizures are caused by a high temperature. This is because the part of the body that regulates the temperature is not fully developed yet. As the child gets older, their body will get better at regulating the body temperature and the likelihood of febrile seizures will decrease. Find out how to treat a febrile seizure.

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Q

Do I have to seek medical advice every time my baby or child has a fever?

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Answer

No, fevers can be quite common in babies and young children and it often isn’t necessary to seek medical advice. You should seek medical advice if their temperature rises above 38°C for a baby less than six months old, or above 39°C for all other children or if you are worried about their condition.

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