A child will develop a temperature because of an infection; usually the child will get over such an infection without the use of antibiotics. Most childhood infections are caused by viruses and these do not respond to antibiotics. The advice below is to help you bring down your child’s temperature and make them feel better. If your child feels hot and appears unwell, we recommend you take the following steps:
- Give your child Paracetamol (eg Calpol) in the maximum dose stated for a child of that age (children under 12 years should not be given aspirin).
- Dress your child in cool clothes, T – shirts, shorts etc. Much heat is lost through the head, so leave it uncovered. Cool down the room by opening windows and doors.
- Give your child plenty of cool drinks as fluid is lost with a fever. If they are reluctant to drink, encourage small amounts from a favourite cup.
- Sponging your child down, particularly the head, with a tepid cloth will make them feel better as well as bringing down the temperature.
- Repeat the dose of Paracetamol every four to eight hours if necessary. NO MORE THAN FOUR DOSES IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD.
- If your child does not improve after giving Paracetamol and sponging down or appears particularly ill, call your doctor. Ill children will always be seen as soon as possible.
YOU WILL NOT MAKE YOUR CHILD WORSE BY TAKING THEM IN A PRAM OR CAR TO THE SURGERY. SOMETIMES THE FRESH AIR MAKES FEVERISH CHILDREN FEEL BETTER.
- A child with a fever is likely to be restless at night. Offer cool drinks and sponge the child down if they wake.
- Very rarely a child under five years will have a convulsion with a temperature. The child suddenly shakes all over and then becomes very still. If your child does have a convulsion it should subside in less than five minutes. Lie the child on their side and stay with them while it lasts. If there is another adult in the house ask them to call a doctor. If not, call the doctor when the convulsion has stopped.