High temperature (fever) in children

A fever is a high temperature of 38C or more. A child with a fever may also be hot and sweaty.

You can usually treat a fever by making sure your child rests and drinks plenty of fluids. Get medical advice if you're worried about your child.

Checking a high temperature

Your child might:

  • feel hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest
  • feel sweaty
  • look or feel unwell

Use a digital thermometer, which you can buy from pharmacies and supermarkets, to take your child's temperature.

What to do if your child has a high temperature

You can usually look after your child or baby at home. The temperature should go down over 3 or 4 days.

  • give them plenty of fluids

  • look out for signs of dehydration

  • give them food if they want it

  • check on your child regularly during the night

  • keep them at home

  • give them paracetamol if they're distressed or unwell

  • get medical advice if you're worried about your child

  • do not undress your child or sponge them down to cool them, a high temperature is a natural and healthy response to infection

  • do not cover them up in too many clothes or bedclothes

  • do not give aspirin to children under 16 years of age

  • do not combine ibuprofen and paracetamol, unless a GP tells you to

  • do not give paracetamol to a child under 2 months

  • do not give ibuprofen to a child under 3 months or under 5kg

  • do not give ibuprofen to children with asthma

[Last reviewed 2020-12-21]
NHS Website