Conditions

Fever

Fever

Normal body temperature for all of us – children and adults alike – is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius. Body temperature is usually measured with a thermometer under the tongue, or a digital thermometer under the armpit and anything over 38 degrees C or 100.4F is classed as a fever. Fever in kids is very common, but what does it mean when your child has a temperature, what are some of the causes, and what can you do?

Frequently, a fever isn’t actually an illness in its own right, but the result of the body fighting off some other bacterial or viral infection such as flu or chickenpox – the heat is part of the body’s defence mechanism. As well as being hot, feverish kids will be clammy, tired and flushed. Even though their temperature is high, they may be shivering as well. Some children develop a fever after being given a vaccination such as the MMR jab. In most cases a fever will pass within a day or so, but there are some things you can do in the meantime to ease the discomfort.

Give them plenty of fluid so they don’t become dehydrated, keep them still (it’s unlikely they’ll want to run around anyway) and if their temperature is making them distressed, give them some junior paracetamol. Experts warn against cooling them down with cold water or a fan, as this can actually prolong the fever.

Though a fever on its own isn’t usually serious, there are times when it can be a sign of something which is, such as meningitis or septicaemia, so do keep a close eye on them (hourly) for other symptoms, such headaches, drowsiness, rashes or a stiff neck, and if these show up see a doctor immediately. If kids get very hot (39 degrees C, 102 F, there’s a danger they may have a fit, in which case you need to get your child to hospital immediately. In most cases though, the fever will come down once the body has fought off the infection, and kids will make a swift recovery.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Hi my 22 month old has had very high temp since friday 15/06/12, however, she has been off her food and drink since sunday, her temp sunday was highest 40.3, she has no other symptoms apart from shivering and runny nose, her temp goes up and down. Today same thing, no eating, wanting comfort and to sleep majority of the day, hardly drank and hasnt eaten again today, her highest temp today was 39.4, again her temp is up and down. She has seen two different doctors one said viral infection and the other says bacterial, ive been giving nurofen and calpol alternating the medication, sometimes her temp goes down afterwards but then then will go back up. Im worried and not sure where to go from here as she is so weak.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi. I have a 19 month old girl and ever since she was 6 month old she has been sick back to back. It always seems to be the same kind of illness. She has headache, runny nose, sickness & diarrhoea, goes off her food, has a high temp and sometimes she has discharge from her eyes. I understand that children pick up a lot of illnesses but as a mother I just no something is not right. In the last year she has been in hospital with it 6 times and they just tell me the same thing, that its a virus she will be fine. But she's not fine. She's I'll a lot more than she's well. Please help me I just want my daughter to be able to enjoy life and not be I'll. Thank u Leeanne





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

hi, i have a 3year old girl who keeps getting high temperature up to 37.5-38.5 degrees but will remain well in herself just dont know why she gets the temperature, she gets this up to 3-4 times a week the doctors have been NO help at all. please help.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Chickenpox

    In Conditions - Chickenpox is one of those diseases that will affect most kids at s…

  2. Colic

    In Conditions - All newborn babies cry but colic is particularly persistent, uncont…

  3. Croup

    In Conditions - Croup is an infection that affects the voicebox (the larynx) and th…

  4. Fibromyalgia

    In Conditions - Fibromyalgia (sometimes referred to as FM) is a condition which cau…

  5. Lupus

    In Conditions - This is the name given to a condition that causes swelling, aching…

  6. Lyme Disease

    In Conditions - Lyme disease is passed on to humans through tick bites. Symptoms in…

  7. Measles

    In Conditions - Measles is spread in the same way as a cough or cold and in its ear…

  8. Meningitis

    In Conditions - Meningitis is an infection that causes tissues round the brain and…

  9. Mumps

    In Conditions - Mumps is a glandular infection that can affect anyone, but children…

  10. Otitis media

    In Conditions - Otitis media is an ear infection which causes fluid to build up in…


More Information

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Rheumatic heart disease is both the most common and the most serious complication that can arise in cases of rheumatic fever, occurring in an estimated 9-34% of cases. Read More »