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Common in young children

If your child has a fever, he or she will have a body temperature above 38˚C. Your child may also feel tired, look pale, have a poor appetite, be irritable, have a headache or other aches and pains and feel generally unwell.

A fever is part of the body’s natural response to infection and can often be left to run its course provided your child is drinking enough and is otherwise well. It is important to prevent your child from becoming dehydrated, which can lead to more serious problems. As a guide, your child’s urine should be pale yellow - if it is darker, your child may need to drink more fluids.

Fevers are common in young children. They are usually caused by viral infections and clear up without treatment. However, a fever can occasionally be a sign of a more serious illness such as a severe bacterial infection of the blood (septicaemia), urinary tract infection, pneumonia or meningitis.

Always seek medical advice if your child develops a fever soon after an operation, or soon after travelling abroad.

GP’s tips

These are things you can do at home to help:

Babies under 6 months:

Always contact your Practice Nurse or GP without delay if your baby has other signs of illness, as well as a raised temperature and/or if your baby’s temperature is 38˚C (102˚F) or higher.

Older children:

A little fever isn’t usually a worry. Contact your GP if your child seems unusually ill, or has a high temperature which doesn’t come down.


My toddler is hot and grumpy.


Have you tried liquid paracetamol? Have you made sure they are drinking lots of fluids?


If their temperature stays at 38˚C, contact your GP.

Source: DoH Birth to five edition 2009.