Fever in Children High Temperature

Authored by Dr Mary Lowth, 22 May 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Adrian Bonsall, 22 May 2017

A fever occurs when your child's body temperature is higher than normal. Normal body temperature varies a little, but a temperature above 38°C is considered a fever. 

Fever in young children usually means that they have an underlying infection. This understandably worries parents and carers.

  • Most fevers in young children over 6 months of age are not serious.
  • Fever in children aged 3-6 months has a higher chance of being serious. You should seek medical advice if the temperature is 39°C or more.
  • Fever in a baby aged less than 3 months is unusual and worrying. You should seek medical advice if the temperature is 38°C or more.

When young children have a fever, if can be difficult for parents to work out why. In most cases, the fever is due to a non-serious viral infection. Many viral infections that affect young children cause a fever of up to 48 hours in duration before other symptoms develop. A small number of common viruses cause fevers that last longer than this.

Further reading and references

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