Last updated on Feb 26th, 2021 at 02:29 pm

Most parents will attest that watching a child go through the discomfort of a fever can be very stressful on both emotional and practical levels. Knowing just what to do, and when to do it, is a challenge moms have faced for many generations.

Clinically speaking, fever is a normal physiological response that allows the body to fight an infection. This sounds simple enough, but there are many realities at play that make the management of a fever especially complex for parents.

Managing the fever

Firstly, a raised temperature can be a warning sign of serious illness as well as an indicator of a child’s normal response to an infection. This is one of the primary reasons parents are often so worried about a child’s raised temperature.

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Another issue is the fact that fever is uncomfortable and distressing for the child, and no parent wants to see their child stressed unnecessarily. If steps can be taken to reduce the load that comes with a fever, they should be.

As a result of this complicated context, establishing clear guidelines through which to assess a fever is a very important exercise for parents and health practitioners alike. Experts make it clear that the parent’s primary goal in treating a child with a fever should be to improve their overall comfort, rather than to focus on the normalisation of body temperature.

When, however, the fever contributes to pain or notable discomfort, such as a headache, the use of analgesic medication for relief is appropriate.

In addition to paying careful attention to assessing and controlling the child’s general discomfort, parents should also familiarise themselves with the broader guidelines set out by health professionals in the management of fever in children.

Essential tips

  • Avoid over and under-dressing: Obviously parents should avoid under-dressing the child, but it’s also important to remember that over-dressing prevents the body from cooling. Dress the child in cool, light clothing, preferably a single layer. Cover them with a sheet or light blanket.
  • Relieve pain as it arises: Use approved paediatric products able to offer effective yet gentle relief if the child is in discomfort and / or pain. Products like Calpol are safe to use from 3 months to 6 years for the symptomatic relief of mild to moderate pain caused by teething pains, fever, toothache, sore throats and headaches.
  • Use fluids: Children lose water during a fever and can become dehydrated, so give them plenty of cool liquid to drink.
  • Love: There is nothing more comforting to a distressed child than receiving love and affection.