Patient Information

Children's Health leaflets

Paediatric Emergency Department
Ipswich Hospital
Tel: 01473 702 339

Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU)
Tel: 01473 702 198

Bergholt Ward
Tel: 01473 702 194


Fever advice – children



Most children with a fever do get better very quickly but some children can get worse.

You need to check your child regularly during the day and night and follow the advice in this leaflet.

If your child:

  • becomes unresponsive
  • becomes blue
  • is finding it hard to breathe
  • has a fit


  • develops a rash which does not disappear with pressure

You need urgent help.  Telephone 999 or go straight to your nearest Emergency Department.


If your child:

  • gets worse or you are worried
  • is not drinking
  • is passing less urine than usual
  • has signs of dehydration including a dry mouth, no tears, sunken eyes, sunken fontanelle (soft spot on a baby’s head), drowsiness and generally seems unwell


  • has a fever which lasts longer than five days

You need to see a nurse or doctor today.  Please call 111, your GP surgery, health visitor or community nurse, or go to your nearest Walk-in Centre.


If you have concerns about looking after your child at home

You need to see a nurse or doctor today.  Please call 111, your GP surgery, health visitor or community nurse, or go to your nearest Walk-in Centre.


Caring for your child at home

  • Most children with fever can be cared for at home. You should be given advice on how to care for your child and when to seek help by the health professional you have seen.
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen are medicines which can help lower your child’s temperature and make your child feel more comfortable but they do not treat the cause of the fever. It is okay to give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen if they have a fever and they are distressed or unwell.
  • These medicines should not be given at the same time, but if you give your child one medicine and it does not work you may wish to consider the other. You should always check the instructions on the bottle or packet, or ask your healthcare professional if you need more information.
  • Offer your child regular drinks. If you are breastfeeding then breast milk is best.
  • Look for signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, no tears, sunken eyes, or a sunken fontanelle (soft spot on a baby’s head).
  • Encourage your child to drink more fluids if they are dehydrated, and seek further advice if you are worried.
  • Do not over- or underdress your child.
  • Do not sponge your child with water. This does not help to reduce fever.
  • Check on your child regularly through the night.
  • Keep your child away from school or nursery while they have a fever and notify them of your child’s absence.

Checking for a non-blanching rash

  • Watch for the development of a rash. The most worrying is a non-blanching rash (a rash that does not disappear with pressure).
  • To identify a non-blanching rash do the tumbler test. Press a glass tumbler firmly against the rash. If you can see the spots through the glass and they do not fade this is called a non-blanching rash.

If your child has a non-blanching rash you should seek medical advice immediately

photograph of the tumbler test on a non-blanching rash

Source: Meningitis Research Foundation



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