Treating fevers in Children.

Fever is a normal response to infection and is usually harmless. If your child has a fever, suggestions include:

  • Keep them cool by not overdressing them or having their room too hot.

  • Give them plenty to drink. It is best to give small, frequent drinks of water.

  • Don't give your child a cold bath. Give a lukewarm bath or sponge. Cold water cools the skin but does not lower the body temperature.

If you suspect that your child has a fever, you can use a thermometer to measure their temperature. Remember, though, that body temperature is better used as a guide than a reliable indicator of illness for babies and young children - a child might have a mild temperature according to the thermometer (slightly over 37°C), but may seem happy and healthy.



Where none of these things makes a difference, medication is often needed. Paracetamol is the first choice pain reliever in children as it is well absorbed and starts to have an effect within 30 minutes. If paracetamol, alone doesn’t work, ibuprofen may be added in children over 3 months of age.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen may be used together but the correct dosing of each is important. Paracetamol can be given every 4-6 hours (up to 4 times a day) while ibuprofen can be given every 6-8 hours (up to 3 times a day).

Note that both paracetamol and ibuprofen are best dosed according to weight. Fortunately these days most products for children recommend a dose based on a child’s weight and not their age. It is best to discuss the dose with your pharmacist if a child is significantly obese. In these cases the dose is based on the average weight for the age and height of the patient.


Both medications are well tolerated but there are conditions where either may not be appropriate. Check with your Pharmacist or Doctor.


Getting the dose right by using a syringe or measure and not a teaspoon from the kitchen is important as well as shaking the bottle if the liquid is cloudy.

If you feel at all worried or concerned at any stage, consult your Pharmacist or Doctor.

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