As well as having plenty of experience being a mum of two boys, I am also a qualified nursery nurse and spent nearly ten years working in nurseries with children aged 0 -6 years. Please remember – I am not medically trained though and if you are concerned about your child’s health, please consult your doctor. This will hopefully just give you some helpful tips should you need them – but hopefully not too often!
So for starters I thought it would be good to clarify what a high temperature is classed as. People have slightly different base temperatures, so this can make a difference but in general a high temperature is anything over 37.2*C. A fever is classed as a temperature of above 38*C (100.4*F) and is when you really need to take some form of action.
A temperature is generally a sign of a virus or infection in the body and is a sign that the body is trying to fight it. If a temperature is only slightly raised, sometimes leaving a child to let their body do it’s thing is an option. However, if they are feeling unwell or their temperature goes above 38*C you will want to do something to ease their distress.
The most effective (and often the easiest for little ones) way to take a child’s temperature is to use an in-ear thermometer These are quick and simple to use and are generally very accurate.
This thermometer is a top seller on Amazon with a large number of good reviews and ratings. It is currently on offer too, so you can save some money on it.
For many parents, the first port of call is medication to reduce a high temperature. Paracetamol can be used 4 times in any 24 hour period in the dose stated for the age of your child on the bottle. Ibuprofen can also be used if paracetamol alone isn’t helping. This can be used 3 times in any 24 hour period. Common examples are Calpol and Nurofen although most chemists offer an own brand version which is generally much cheaper.
Lots of people strip their child to just their underwear or a nappy and some even put them in cool baths or place cold flannels over them. This is not a good idea. Light, loose clothing should be kept on the child. Using cold cloths will only cool the skin and will actually increase the child’s core temperature, as the body tries to warm the skin back up. In severe cases it can also send the child into shock.
Keeping your child hydrated is really important so offer plenty of drinks. You can offer cold drinks to help cool them down from within. If they will eat, offer foods such as yoghurt and jelly from the fridge or ice-pops/ice-cram from the freezer. Ice-pops and jelly will also help with their hydration levels.
A high temperature can very occasionally cause a child to have a febrile convulsion (fit/seizure). These can be extremely distressing and scary to witness and you can find out more information about what they are and what to do if your child has one on the NHS website.
I really hope this is useful to all the parents reading. Heading into Autumn and cold/flu season I am sure there will be lots of bugs flying about. As I said at the beginning of the post – if you are concerned about your child’s health please call your doctor or the NHS 111 service for advice and help. Although common in children, they can have serious causes/effects and I think it is always best to be cautious and also trust your parenting instincts!