Normal body temperature varies from person to person and varies during the hours of the day (it is usually higher during the afternoon). Normal body temperature is highest in preschool children and higher in children aged 18-24 months However, despite these differences, most doctors define a fever as a temperature of 38 °C or higher when measured with a rectal thermometer (see How to Take a Child's Temperature).

Although parents are often concerned about a high temperature, a high temperature does not necessarily indicate the severity of the cause. Some minor illnesses cause a significant increase in temperature, while some serious illnesses cause only a mild fever. Other symptoms (such as difficulty breathing, confusion, and not drinking) indicate the severity of the disease much better than the temperature. However, a temperature above 41°C can be dangerous in itself, although it is rare.

Fever can be useful in helping the body fight infection. Some experts believe that lowering the fever can prolong some disorders or affect the immune system's response to infection. Thus, although fever is unpleasant, it does not always need treatment when Healthy children. But a fever in children with a lung, heart, or brain disorder may cause problems because it increases the body's demands (for example, by increasing the heart rate). Therefore, it is necessary to lower the temperature in these children.

Babies with a fever are usually irritable and may not sleep or eat well. Older children lose interest in playing. As the temperature rises, children usually become more irritable and listless. But children with a high temperature can sometimes appear healthy Children can have seizures when their temperature rises or fall quickly (the condition is called febrile seizures). In rare cases, the temperature is so high that children become lethargic, drowsy, and unresponsive.

How to measure a child's temperature

A child's temperature can be taken from the rectum, ear, mouth, forehead or armpit. It can be taken with a digital thermometer. Digital thermometers are easier to use and give much faster readings (they usually give an indication when they are ready). Thermometers are no longer recommended. Glass heat containing mercury because it can break and expose people to mercury.

Rectal temperature is the most accurate. The result of its measurement is closer to the child's true internal body temperature. To measure the rectal temperature, the bulb of the thermometer must be coated with a lubricant. Then the thermometer is gently inserted a distance of 1.25-2.5 cm into the rectum While the child is lying on his stomach.The child should be prevented from moving.

Ear temperatures are measured using a digital device that measures infrared radiation from the eardrum. An ear thermometer is unreliable for infants under 3 months of age. To obtain an ear temperature, a heat probe is placed around the ear opening so that a plug is formed, and then a plug is formed. Press the start button. The digital reading indicates the temperature.

Oral temperatures are taken by placing a digital thermometer under a child's tongue. Oral temperatures provide reliable readings but are difficult to measure in young children. Young children have difficulty keeping their mouth gently closed around the thermometer, which is essential for reading The age of reliably taken oral temperature varies from child to child, but is usually after the age of four.

Forehead temperatures (temporal artery temperatures) are measured using a digital device that measures infrared radiation from the artery in the forehead (temporal artery). To obtain a forehead temperature, the thermometer tip is gently moved across the forehead from the hairline to the hairline while pressing on Scan button. Digital reading indicates temperature. Forehead temperature is not as accurate as rectal temperature, particularly in infants as young as 3 months old.

Axillary fossa temperatures are measured by placing a digital thermometer in a child's axillary fossa and directly on the skin. Doctors rarely use this method because it is less accurate than other methods (the readings are usually very low and vary widely). They are uncomfortable with taking a rectal temperature and do not have an ear or forehead thermometer, so it may be better to measure the temperature of the axillary fossa than not to take the temperature at all.

the reasons

Fever occurs in response to infection, injury, or inflammation and has many causes. Possible causes of a fever depend on whether it has lasted 14 days or less (acute) or more than 14 days (chronic) and the age of the child. .

acute fever

Acute fevers in infants and children are usually caused by an infection. Teething does not cause a temperature to rise above 38°C.

The most common causes of acute fever are:

Respiratory infections caused by a virus, such as the common cold or influenza

Gastroenteritis (infection of the digestive tract) caused by a virus

Certain bacterial infections, particularly ear infections (otitis media), sinus infections, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections

Newborns and young infants are more likely to develop some serious infections because their immune systems are not fully developed. These infections may be caught before or during birth and include sepsis (a serious infection of the blood) and pneumonia (infection of small air sacs). in the lungs) and meningitis (infection of the tissues that cover the brain).

Children younger than 3 years old who have a fever (particularly if they have a temperature of 39°C or higher) sometimes have bacteria in their bloodstream (bacteremia). Unlike older children, they sometimes have bacteremia. They often have no symptoms along with a fever (called occult bacteremia). Routine vaccinations are currently used against the bacteria that usually cause occult bacteremia (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus broad-spectrum Streptococcus pneumoniae) United States and Europe. As a result, these vaccines have virtually eliminated occult bacteremia in children in this age group.

Less common causes of acute fevers include side effects of vaccines and some drugs, bacterial infections of the skin (cellulitis) or joints (septic arthritis), and infections such as Kawaphal virus infection (Kawaphal disease) Covering the brain (meningitis) or both. Heatstroke causes a very high body temperature.

Fever caused by vaccination usually lasts from a few hours to a day after the vaccine is given. However, some vaccines can cause a fever for 1-2 weeks after the vaccine is given (as is the case with the measles vaccine). Fever when it is time to get the vaccine Get it if the fever is low and they are not seriously ill.

chronic fever

Chronic fever is more common and is caused by:

Long-term viral illness

Consecutive viral infections, especially in young children

Chronic fever may also result from many other infectious and non-infectious disorders.

Infectious causes of chronic fever include:

Lever Inflammation



Abdominal abscesses (pockets of pus in the abdomen)

Infections of the gastrointestinal tract are caused by bacteria or parasites

Bone infections (such as osteomyelitis)

Cardiac infections (such as rheumatoid arthritis)


inflammatory bowel disease

juvenile idiopathic arthritis or other connective tissue disorder

Cancer (such as leukemia and lymphoma)

Sometimes children pretend to have a fever, or health care providers claim a child they are caring for has a fever when it is not. Sometimes the cause is not identified.


Detecting the presence of a fever is easy, but determining its cause can be difficult.

Warning signs

Some symptoms are cause for concern. They include:

A fever in infants younger than 2 months of age

lethargy or apathy

Not looking good

Breathing difficulty

Bleeding in the skin, which appears as small reddish-purple dots (petechiae) or spots (purpura)

Constant crying of an infant or child at the beginning of the "toddler" walk (the picky stage)

Headache, neck stiffness, confusion or a combination thereof in older children

When should you see a doctor?

Children who have a fever should get a doctor's evaluation right away if there are any warning signs or if they are less than 2 months old.

Children without warning signs aged 3 months to 3 years should have a checkup if the temperature is 39°C or higher, when there is no obvious upper respiratory infection (i.e. children are sneezing with a runny nose) nasal congestion) or if the fever lasts more than 5 days.

For children who do not have warning signs and are over 3 years of age, the need and timing of a doctor's evaluation depends on the child's symptoms. For children who have upper respiratory symptoms but otherwise appear to be otherwise healthy; They may not need further evaluation. Children over 3 years of age who have a fever lasting more than 5 days should see a doctor.

What will the doctor do?

Doctors first ask about the child's symptoms and medical history. Then they do a physical examination. A description of the child's symptoms and a thorough examination by doctors allows the doctors to determine the cause of the fever (see Table: Some Common Causes and Features of Fever in Children).

Doctors take the child's temperature. It is taken rectally in infants and young children to ensure its accuracy. The respiratory rate is monitored. In children who appear sick, blood pressure is measured. In children who have problems with coughing or breathing, the temperature is taken. A sensor placed on a finger or earlobe to measure the concentration of oxygen in the blood (pulse oximetry).

When doctors examine children, they look for warning signs (such as poor appearance, lethargy, restlessness, and irritability), especially how children respond to the examination—such as if children are lethargic and negative or irritable.

The fever itself can sometimes cause some warning signs in children, including lethargy, listlessness, and a poor appearance. Doctors may give children fever-reducing medications (such as ibuprofen) and be reassessed once the fever is reduced. On the other hand, it is worrying that children who appear poorly in their condition persist despite their normal temperature.

Doctors can often diagnose an acute fever without tests. For example, if children do not appear to be very ill, the cause is usually a viral infection or a respiratory infection if they have a runny nose, wheezing, or cough, or gastroenteritis if They have had diarrhea and vomiting. In such children, the diagnosis is clear and no tests are needed. Even if there are no specific symptoms to help make the diagnosis, the cause is still often a viral infection in children who do not appear very ill. Doctors try to limit the tests they give to children who may have a more serious disorder. The chance of a serious disorder (and thus the need for tests) varies with the child's age, symptoms, and general appearance, as well as with the particular disorders the doctor suspects (see table: Some Causes). common and features of fever in children).

If a newborn (newborn 28 days old or younger) has a fever, they should be admitted to the hospital for tests because the risk of serious infection is high. Tests usually include blood and urine tests, a spinal tap (lumbar puncture), and sometimes a chest x-ray. .

In infants aged 1 to 3 months, blood tests, urine tests (urinalysis), and urine culture are done. The need for hospitalization, chest x-rays, and spinal taps varies with the results of the examination, blood and urine tests, as well as how the disease appears or improves. and possible follow-up testing.Infants under 3 months of age are tested for bacteremia, urinary tract infections, and meningitis.Testing is necessary because infants have difficulty determining the source of a fever and their immature immune system is dangerous.

If children aged 3 months to 3 years seem fine and can be monitored closely, no tests are needed. If symptoms suggest a particular infection, doctors should do appropriate tests. If children do not have any symptoms that suggest to a particular disorder but appear ill or have a temperature of 39°C or higher; Blood and urine tests are usually done. The need for hospital treatment depends on the children's condition and whether they have follow-up examinations.

Testing is not usually done in children over 3 years of age unless the children have specific symptoms that suggest a serious disorder.

Tests are often done when a chronic fever is present. If doctors suspect a disorder, they do tests for that disorder. Screening tests are done if the cause is not clear. Screening tests include a complete blood cell count, urine analysis, culture, and blood tests to check for inflammation. Tests for inflammation include a test to measure the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and measurement of C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Stools, tuberculosis tests, chest x-rays, and computed tomography of the sinuses.

In rare cases, the fever persists, in which doctors cannot determine the cause even after thorough testing. This type of fever is called a fever of unknown origin. Children who have a fever of unknown origin are much less likely to develop a serious disorder than are adults.


If the fever is caused by a disorder, that disorder is treated. Other fever treatments focus on making children feel better.

general measures

Ways to help children with a fever feel better without drugs.

Giving children plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration

Apply cool, wet compresses to the forehead, wrists, and calves

Putting children in a warm bath (which is slightly cooler than the child's temperature)

Because shivering may actually raise a child's temperature, methods that may cause shivering (such as undressing and cold baths) should be used only when there is a dangerously high temperature of about 41°C and above.

A child should not be massaged with alcohol or hamamelis water because the alcohol can be absorbed through the skin and cause damage. There are many other unhelpful folk remedies that range from harmless remedies (such as putting onions or potatoes in a child's socks) to unpleasant ones (such as putting cuts). pressure or cupping).

For antipyretic drugs

It is not necessary to treat a fever in healthy children. However, use of medicines called antipyretics may make children feel better by lowering the temperature. These medicines have no effect on infection or any other disorder that causes a fever. In children with a heart, lung, cerebral, or neurological disorder, or a history of fever-triggered seizures, these drugs are necessary because they reduce the additional stress that the fever causes in the body.

The following medicines are usually used:

Acetaminophen, taken orally or as a suppository

Ibuprofen, given orally

Acetaminophen tends to be the treatment of choice. Long-term use of ibuprofen may irritate the stomach lining. These medications can be obtained without a prescription. The recommended dose is listed on the package or your doctor may determine the correct dose at intervals. Medicines do not have an effect when a small amount of them is used or when an insufficient amount of them is used often.Although the use of these medicines is relatively safe, using a large amount of the medicine or using it excessively can lead to an overdose .

In rare cases, acetaminophen or ibuprofen is used to prevent fever, as is the case when infants are vaccinated.

As frightening as fever is, especially if it is ignored, it can lead to serious health consequences, but at the same time it is a sign of the immune system's resistance to infection.

Some studies have also shown that higher body temperature helps certain types of lymphocytes work better to fight microbes.


As frightening as fever is, especially if it is ignored, it can lead to serious health consequences, but at the same time it is a sign of the immune system's resistance to infection.

Some studies have also shown that higher body temperature helps certain types of lymphocytes work better to fight microbes.

Sudden fever treatment

If your child has a high temperature, there are several steps you can try at home to avoid its complications:

Keeping your baby cool

Fluids help bring down a fever, so encourage your child to drink water and fluids to stay hydrated.

Try to keep your child indoors and encourage him to play something that makes him sit up and calm, such as playing with toys and coloring, or try showing your child your favorite TV movie.

Put a cloth (compresses) in cold water, then place it on your child's forehead and wrist, and change the cloth once every 10-15 minutes approximately, and repeat as needed.

Make sure to adjust the temperature of the house, and avoid cold weather, because this may lead to shivering and chills, which may lead to a rise in your child's temperature, and do not aim the fan or air conditioning directly at your child.

Wearing heavy clothes can increase your child's body temperature, so it's best to wear light and loose-fitting clothes

to take a shower

Fill the bathtub with lukewarm water. Do not use cold water, as this may cause your child to shiver, which may lead to an increase in body temperature or convulsions.

If your child is an infant, fill the bath with lukewarm water, and use a sponge or cloth to spread the water over his body. After that, squeeze the towel to let the water run down his shoulder and let it run down his arm, repeat the process on the opposite shoulder, and on the legs, do not use a sponge with water on your child's face or head.

It may take about 30 to 45 minutes, then take your child's temperature to see if it has gone down. After that, take him out of the bathtub to get dressed

When do you go to the doctor or emergency room?

The HealthDirect website answers the question and indicates the times when mothers should go to the doctor with their child, such as:

If your child is over 6 months old and you sleep for long hours, has frequent vomiting, persistent abdominal pain, light flashes, does not drink fluids well, does not urinate well, and has a fever for more than 3 days or has been in contact with a person with a serious infection.

If your baby is less than 3 months old and has a fever, you should take him to the doctor immediately, or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.

If your child begins to have trouble breathing, chest or stomach pain or pressure, or his skin turns blue or gray.

If your child shows signs of dehydration, such as feeling thirsty and dry mouth, dizziness, decreased urine output or dark urine. Your child may need intravenous fluids to rehydrate.

If you notice little or no tears and dry skin and lips.

If a baby's temperature (under 3 months old) when taken from the anal area is above 38 degrees Celsius, according to WebMed.

If the child is 3 months to 3 years old and has a fever of 39°C or higher for more than one day.

If the child has a high fever that lasts more than 24 hours.

The child has a fever and a rash.

Finally, it is advised not to give medicines to the child to treat the fever until after the temperature reaches 38 degrees Celsius, so you must first reduce the temperature through bathing and compresses.

Avoid giving the child antibiotics without consulting the doctor. Paracetamol medicines can be given, but read the instructions carefully first to ensure the appropriate dose. If you are not sure, consult your doctor.