Parents’ guide: The dos and don’ts of fighting a fever

Childhood fever symptoms can usually be managed in the comfort of your home. Here are a few ways to help lower your child’s high temperature.

Parents' guide: The dos and don'ts of fighting a fever
 If your little one has a fever, you can consider using fever reducers that contain paracetamol, such as Panado® Paediatric Syrup, Peppermint 5 ml Sachets.

Is it really necessary to feed a cold and starve a fever? We explore what you should (and shouldn’t) do if your child’s temperature rises.

When your child spikes a fever and appears to be in pain, it’s natural for even the calmest moms and dads to panic. However, not all fevers are bad for children.

Fever is defined as a body temperature of > (more than/equal to) 38 degrees C. As strange as it may seem, fevers can be a good thing. A fever is your child’s body’s way of fighting off infections and helping speed up recovery.

What Causes Pain And Fever In Children?

Viral infections are common in infants and children, and most are not serious, including the common cold and a sore throat.

Teething can be uncomfortable for young children as the tooth cuts through the gums, while in older children, cavities may also cause toothache. Childhood vaccinations can also cause fever and local reaction (pain, swelling and redness).

Utilise over-the-counter medication

If the temperature is light and the child appears to be in good health, you may decide to let the fever run its course. To help ease pain and stabilise your child’s temperature, speak to your local pharmacist about over-the-counter pain and fever medications suitable for your child’s age.

Fever should not be starved

Children with fever may be less hungry than usual but provide a nutritious, well-balanced meal when they want to eat. Well-fed children may be better able to fight illnesses.

  • Fever sweats can dehydrate a child, so provide plenty of fluids. 
  • If your child is vomiting or has diarrhoea, offer them an electrolyte drink.
  • Your child should not be underdressed (or overdressed). It’s natural for a feverish child to wear warmer than others in the room. However, avoid overdressing or covering your child in thick blankets, as this might prevent body heat from escaping and cause the temperature to climb even further. 

Three things to consider when your child has a fever

Take these three criteria into account before calling the doctor.

  1. Your child’s age: In general, the younger your child, the more concerning a fever is. 
  2. The length of the fever: Call your doctor if your child’s fever lasts two or more days with no improvement or if it hasn’t improved after three days in children aged one to two.
  3. Additional symptoms: Call your doctor if you notice any symptoms of a more serious sickness, such as strep throat, an ear infection, or a urinary tract infection. Repeated vomiting and diarrhoea, acute ear pain, headache, sore throat, stiff neck, listlessness, problems breathing, unexplained rash, and indicators of dehydration are all concerning symptoms.