Video: How to Care for Your Child When They Have a Fever

Fever is a common feature of childhood infections. In this video Dr Ranj Singh explains how to help a child with fever recover as quickly as possible. Be sure to also watch the NHS Choices video on spotting the signs of sepsis so you know what to do if your child isn’t getting better.

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights

Keep a close eye on temperature:

  • Babies under 28 days: check with an underarm thermometer
  • Older Children: check in the ear. Do not use forehead strips
  • Fever is >38°C (*100.4°F) . It is a normal response to an infection

How to treat it?

  • Lowering temperature will not shorten the illness or treat the cause of it. It will simply ease your child’s discomfort.
  • Can manage pain with paracetamol (*acetaminophen) or ibuprofen. Do NOT use both at same time. Start with one and if it doesn’t work, try the other.
  • Dosage is on the package. Only use while your child to treat your child’s distress and don’t exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Do not over or under-dress them

Avoid dehydration

  • Children with a fever need to drink more to prevent dehydration
  • Signs of dehydration
    • Dry Mouth
    • Decrease in urination (fewer wet nappies / diapers)
    • Fewer or no tears
    • Sunken eyes
    • Sunken fontanelle (soft spot on top of baby’s head)
  • Encourage drinking – less, more often
  • Breastfeeding moms – make sure to avoid becoming dehydrated yourself
  • If diarrhea or vomiting – drink more frequent, less often, avoiding fruit juice or carbonated beverages
  • Oral rehydration solution (ORS) – can help the body absorb fluids

Antibiotics are not regularly prescribed as most childhood infections are viral, and antibiotics only treat bacterial infections.

Additional simple things you can do

  • Check child for response to your touch during the night. If they don’t respond as they typically would, wake them and check symptoms
  • Keep them home and notify school or nursery of their absence
  • Maintain home hygiene

When to get help

  • Contact your GP (*doctor) or NHS 111 if you have concerns about your child’s condition
  • Contact 999 in the UK (*911 US) in an emergency or if they exhibit any of the signs of Sepsis mentioned in the video

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

NHS Choices logo


About the Author

NHS Choices ( is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.


Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!