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Temperature in Children - Fact Sheet

Teething does NOT cause temperature in children – their cheeks may appear flushed and warm but their temperature is normal.

A temperature can be a sign of a serious illness and it is important to regularly check your child for signs of a rash – this does mean removing clothing to be effective.  

A forehead thermometer is NOT a reliable way to measure temperature – they are very inaccurate and tend to read high causing paternal concern.

The height of the temp is not useful for deciding how ill your child is. Viral and urinary tract infections can be associated with spiking high temperatures while a constant temperature may be a more serious sign. A temperature persisting for more than five days requires further investigation.

A temperature in babies under 6 months can be a sign of a serious infection. This can be the only outward sign of a more serious illness and after 24 hrs you should speak to a healthcare professional.

An infant under 3 months of age with a high temp should be admitted to hospital. This is true and should be standard procedure unless in exceptional circumstances – e.g. post immunisation.

If your child is breathing at a much faster rate this can indicate a severe illness in a young child. Other signs to look out for are pallor –“paleness” and lethargy. It is very helpful if you can bring along a urine sample as this is also useful in determing the severity of an illness.

Paracetamol /(Calpol) and Ibuprofen /(Nurofen) are better given in alternate doses if needed. Try to avoid giving them both at the same time.

It is very important to check on your child during the night and if they still have a temperature to check for the presence of a rash.

It is important to undress your child fully to check for a possible rash as some rashes may develop on the abdomen and groin and may be missed if face, arms and legs only are inspected.

A child with a temperature should be kept away from nursery or school. A temperature is always associated with an infection and usually means that your child is infectious. Most infections are spread by the airborne route and are spread by coughing and sneezing etc.

Any concerns should always be discussed with the Doctor.    

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