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About fever

A normal temperature in babies and children is about 36.4°C, but every child is different.8
A fever is a high temperature of 38°C or more.8

  • MANAGING FEVER
  • WHEN TO REFER

A high temperature should normally go down after 3-4 days,8 but paracetamol or ibuprofen may be recommended for children who have a fever and are also distressed or unwell.8


You can remind parents/carers to encourage their child to drink plenty of fluids, give them food if they want it, keep them at home and check on them regularly (including during the night).8,9


It may also be appropriate to remind parents/carers not to use tepid sponging to cool the child, and to check they are not over-dressed or using too many bedclothes.8

Pharmacy team members should refer to the pharmacist/GP:8,9

  • A baby with a temperature of 38°C or higher if under 3 months
  • A baby with a temperature of 39°C or higher (aged 3-6 months)
  • A child with a non-blanching rash or other signs of central nervous infection as well as a fever
  • A child who has had a seizure
  • Any child who doesn't want to eat, or doesn't seem their usual self and the parent/carer is worried
  • Any child with a high temperature that doesn't come down after they have been given paracetamol/ibuprofen or a fever that lasts 5 days or more
  • Any child showing signs of dehydration (e.g. nappies that aren't very wet, sunken eyes or no tears when they are crying)

Listen out for any "red flag" signs such as: a weak, high pitched/continuous cry; severe indrawing of the chest; a non-blanching rash; the child is drowsy, hard to wake or extremely agitated; the child has unusually cold hands/feet; the skin, lips or tongue are blue pale or blotchy; the child is affected by light or has a stiff neck.8

Any warning signs of meningitis or sepsis need urgent medical attention and the parent should call 999.