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Don’t panic

In most cases, your child’s fever is harmless and will go away on its own in 72 hours2. If it lasts longer, they should see a doctor2. A low-grade fever that lasts ±48 hours is also common if your child has recently been vaccinated1. You can usually care for them at home, provided the fever subsides in ±3 days3.

How to treat your child’s fever at home

  • Give plenty of fluids3
  • Don’t try to cool them down by undressing or sponging them down, as the fever is the body’s natural response to infection3
  • Give paracetamol if they feel unwell or you can see they’re distressed3
  • Don’t give other medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, without speaking to your healthcare provider3
  • Get medical advice if you’re worried3

How To Take Your Child’s Temperature

Find out the most accurate way of reading your baby or young child’s body temperature …

When should I worry?

  1. If the fever lasts for more than 3 days2.
  2. If your child shows any of the following signs, seek medical help urgently as these could be symptoms of septicaemia or meningitis, which are both potentially fatal conditions3,4:
  • Stiff neck3,4
  • Rash3,4
  • Light sensitivity3,4
  • Unusually cold hands/feet3,4
  • Limb/joint/muscle pain (could be with stomach pain diarrhoea)4
  • Blue, pale/blotchy/mottled skin, lips or tongue3,4
  • Agitated, confused or delirious3,4
  • Unusually weak, high-pitched cry3
  • Drowsy and hard to wake3,4
  • Difficulty breathing/breathing fast3,4
  • Has a fit (febrile seizure) for the first time and can’t stop shaking3

Understand febrile seizure

A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child that’s triggered by a fever5. They occur in young, healthy children who don’t display any signs of neurological symptoms5.

It can be frightening when your child has a febrile seizure, but they’re usually harmless and only last for a few minutes5. However, you must contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible after the seizure5.

Febrile seizures are the most frequently seen seizures in children from six months to five years6. The most common causes of febrile seizures are upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, and acute gastroenteritis6.

What should I do?

  • Place your child in the recovery position7
  • Stay with them and take note of how long the seizure lasts7
  • Never put anything into your child’s mouth during a seizure – including medicine – as there’s a slight chance they might bite their tongue7
  • Seek medical advice once the seizure ends7

Warning: Call an ambulance or get your child to the nearest hospital if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, or is accompanied by vomiting, stiffness, breathing problems or extreme sleepiness5. Also consider it an emergency if the child is having a seizure for the first time7.


  1. RADY Children’s Hospital San Diego. Staff overview. Fever and Taking Your Child’s Temperature. Available at
  2. Canadian Paediatric Society. Staff overview. Fever and temperature taking. Available at
  3. NHS. Staff overview. High temperature (fever) in children. Available at
  4. Meningitis Research Foundation. Staff overview. Symptoms Checker. Available at
  5. Mayo Clinic. Staff overview. Febrile seizure. Available at
  6. Awariwar, M. & Panda, N.Y. Febrile Seizures in Children and its Association with Bacterial Infection – A Hospital based Study. Int. J. Contemp. Med. 6(10). 2019.
  7. NHS. Staff overview. Febrile seizures. Available at