What is an elevated temperature for babies and small children?
A fever in children is a core body (rectal) temperature of 38°C. An elevated temperature or fever may be caused by an ear infection, a viral illness, gastroenteritis and many other illnesses. It may even be caused by a recent immunisation.
When to treat a fever at home
An illness accompanied by a fever is probably not serious if your child:
- Is still playing or interested in playing
- Is eating and drinking well
- Is alert and smiling at you
- Has a normal skin tone
- Looks well once their temperature comes down.
In these cases, you’ll find that your child’s temperature also comes down relatively easy.
When to take your child to the doctor for a fever
If your baby is younger than 3 months and has a temperature higher than 38°C, or your baby is aged between 3 and 12 months and has a temperature of 39°C, you need to take your child to the clinic or doctor immediately.
You should also see the doctor or go to the clinic right away if your child:
- Is under 2 years and their fever lasts longer than 24 – 48 hours.
- Is older than 2 years and has a fever lasting for longer than 48 – 72 hours, or if their temperature is higher than 40.5°C. However, if the fever comes down with treatment and your child is then comfortable, you probably don’t need to see the doctor.
- Has other symptoms, including earache, a sore throat or a cough.
- Has had fevers on and off for a week or more – even if those fevers aren’t very high.
- Has a fever as well as a serious medical illness, for example a heart problem, sickle cell anaemia, diabetes or cystic fibrosis.
- Suddenly develops a rash or unexplained bruise.
- Has pain urinating.
- Has a fever accompanied by a troubled immune system, for example, if they are having chronic steroid therapy, have had a bone marrow or organ transplant, had their spleen removed, is HIV-positive or is being treated for cancer.
- Has recently travelled to a high risk or live in a high risk malaria area (or other type of high risk medical areas).
When to take your child to the hospital for a fever
You should get your child to the hospital immediately, or phone an ambulance, if they have the following symptoms, especially if accompanied with fever:
- They are crying and cannot be calmed down.
- They are not awakened easily or at all.
- They cannot walk (after learning how).
- They have difficulty breathing, even when their nose is clear.
- They have blue lips, tongue or nails.
- They have a very bad headache.
- Their neck is stiff.
- They refuse to move an arm or leg.
- They have a seizure.
Panado gets to work in only 15 minutes
Panado contains paracetamol, gets to work in 15 minutes, is gentle on tummies, and also provides fast and effective relief from:
- Pain and fever
- Teething pain
- Sore throats
Panado is also sugar and alcohol free. Panado. A dose of care.
- Wilcock A, Twycross R. Therapeutic reviews: Acetaminophen (Paracetamol). J. Pain Symptom Manag. 2013,46(5):747-757.
- Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 13th ed. Acetaminophen. p696.
- Panado Paediatric Syrup Strawberry Approved package insert March 2002.
- Van den Anker JN. Optimising the management of fever and pain in children. Int J Clin Pract 2013;67(178):26–32
- Medline Plus. Fever. August 2018. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003090.htm
S0 Panado® Paediatric Syrup Strawberry. Each 5 ml contains paracetamol 120 mg. Reg. No. 35/2.7/0112.
For full prescribing information refer to the prescriber information approved by the medicine’s regulatory authority.
Adcock Ingram Limited. Reg. No. 1949/034385/06. Private Bag X69, Bryanston, 2021, South Africa. Tel. +27 11 635 0000 www.adcock.com 2019090610160772
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