When should you worry about a fever?
When should you worry about a fever? iStock

How to keep your cool when your kids have a fever

YOUR baby or infant isn't quite themselves and you've decided to check their temperature, revealing they have a fever.

Naturally this can cause you to worry, especially if you can't identify the reason for the fever.

Generally speaking, fevers indicate your child's body is fighting back against an infection - so they're a good sign that a natural reaction is occurring to an infection.

Usually the infection is minor and your child will recover in a couple of days. That said, you can still help your child when they have a fever and need to keep an eye on whether it starts to stick around.

Let's get stuck into a bit more detail about what you can do.

Identify symptoms

As mentioned above, if your child is ill or just seems a bit off then check their temperature.

Anything higher than 38 degrees is most likely a sign of a fever, but make sure you keep checking to ensure the reading is consistently above 38C.

Parents can over monitor and worry about tiny changes in their child's temperature, but it's completely natural for a child's temperature to go up or down by less than one degree. As long as it's not above 38C degrees it's fine - so don't stress out.

As fever also causes some natural physical reactions in your child such as sweating or shivering. Don't overreact as this is what the body does to regulate and control its temperature.

Febrile convulsions can also take place in toddlers. If your child has them talk to your GP, but rest assured they've no long term consequences.

How do I know what infection they have?

Most infections are viral such as the common cold, upper respiratory infections and chicken pox.

The good news is viral infections don't last long and usually don't need to be treated. If your child has a viral infection, the best thing to do is to ensure they get plenty of rest, are comfortable and keep their fluids up.

It is different for bacterial infections such as ear and throat infections, urinary tract, pneumonia, blood infections and meningitis. If your child indicates signs of these types of infection you should see your GP as they will need antibiotics or other help from a professional.

For young babies always see a doctor

If your baby is under three months of age they should always see a doctor. For babies between three and 12 months seek medical advice straight away to determine what action to take.

If your child is older than 12 months or the medical advice suggests you stay at home, ensure they stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluid. If your child is in distress then try a product like Hydralyte which works rapidly.

Keep an eye out for more serious symptoms such as looking pale and acting lethargic, trouble breathing, drowsiness, refusing to drink and not going to the toilet, complaints about lights hurting eyes or a stiff neck/headache, vomiting or diarrhoea, pains.

See your GP if any of these symptoms occur or the fever lasts more than 48 hours. In fact, if unsure always err on the side of caution.

Reference: raisingchildren.net.au