Dr Ranj's health tips
Published Wednesday, 08 January 2014
Fever in children can worry the majority of parents who are unaware of the latest facts on the medical sign.
This Morning's Dr Ranj. (© Ken McKay)
In an exclusive online video, This Morning's Dr Ranj gives his top ten tips for dealing with the problem.
- Fever is a symptom - not a disease itself - and is our bodies' natural way of responding to something foreign. In most cases it's a response to infection.
- The recommended (and most accurate) way to measure a temperature is to use an under-arm or in-ear thermometer.
- As a rough guide, a normal temperature is between 36.5 and 37.5 degrees centigrade. Generally, anything above 37.5 can be considered to be a fever - especially if it goes over 38 degrees.
- You don't have to treat a fever, but it can make you feel quite miserable so treating might help make your child feel more comfortable. It's more important to identify the cause and treat that if appropriate.
- One of the biggest causes of fever in children are infections caused by a type of germ called a virus. In these cases, antibiotics do not help because they only work against infections caused by bacteria - another type of germ. When it comes to viruses, our immune system gets rid of them itself and we just treat the symptoms.
- You can treat a fever by reducing layers of clothing or covers, offering cool drinks and using medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen - but always remember to read the label.
- Despite what many think, fever is not harmful and will not cause damage. Only in very specific circumstances can it be dangerous - but this is rare. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that it can be helpful in fighting off infection.
- A small number of children suffer from febrile convulsions or fits, but fever itself does not cause fits. Febrile convulsions are generally harmless and most children will grow out of them by the age of 5.
- It's important that any baby under the age of 6 months with a fever is checked by a doctor to make sure it's nothing serious as it's often difficult to tell in this age group.
- Finally, seek medical advice if your child has a fever and it doesn't get better with treatment, lasts for over 5 days, or you're worried that they're getting more unwell or have signs of a serious illness.
For more information and advice you can speak to your doctor or nurse, or check out the NHS Choices website.
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