What is Fever?

Average body temperature ranges between 36.5 – 37.5°C.  Low-grade fever ranges between 37.5 – 38°C.  Fever is seen as a body temperature of 38.5°C or higher.  Fever is usually a sign that your child’s body is fighting off some sort of infection; however fever is not something to be afraid of.  Fever means that your child’s immune system is functioning as it should to help fight off viruses and bacteria.

Common causes

Viral infections:  Tend to cause high fevers from the onset of other symptoms.  Fever due to viral infections tends to subside abruptly after 1-4 days.  Viral infections can only be treated symptomatically, antibiotic treatment will not work.

Bacterial infections:  Tend to start with other symptoms of the illness first.  Fever appears gradually and may elevate over the course of a few days.  Bacterial infections warrants the use of antibiotics, however this will have to be prescribed by your paediatrician after evaluating your child.

When to not be concerned

  • Your child feels ill and does not act like they normally do when the fever spikes, but behaviour returns to normal as soon as the fever breaks.
  • Fever is overall low-grade, and no other symptoms that warrant concern are present.
  • Your child is in general feeding well, eating more or less as normal, sleeping patterns have not changed, playing and interacting as normal.

When to see your paediatrician

  • Should you as a parent at any time be concerned, rather make an appointment. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Fever has been persisting on and off for 3 days (72hours)
  • Fever has spiked to over 39°C
  • Any other symptoms which accompany the fever
  • Child’s condition is deteriorating in general
  • Fever does not break when medication is given
  • Fever in a baby less than 3 months of age