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Childhood Illnesses

How to Manage a Temperature

When babies and children are poorly they often have a high temperature (sometimes called a fever).

A normal temperature in babies and children is around 36.4°C but this can vary from child to child. A high temperature is 38°C or above.

  • Try to get your child to drink lots of fluids, offer breastfeeds more often if you are breast feeding.
  • Check on your child often during the night.
  • Dress your baby or young child in their normal clothing or nightwear whilst they are feeling poorly.

This will be the most comfortable for them. Being either undressed or wrapped up in blankets can make babies and young children feel too cold or too hot, and they may not be able to tell you this.

A temperature is usually a sign that your baby or child has an infection. There are two types of infection your child might get. 

  • A viral infection is most common and your child will usually get better without needing any medicine, such as antibiotics. 
  • A bacterial infection is less common but it is very important that you watch your child for signs that mean they need a to see a nurse or doctor.

If you are worried, you can use this guide to help you identify if you need to get further help, and where to go.

Do I need to seek more help?

Using a Thermometer

The best thermometer to use to check your child's temperature is a digital one to get a fast and correct reading.

Strip thermometers used on foreheads are not as accurate as digital ones and ear thermometers can be tricky to use.

Other Useful Videos 


Downloads

Baby Check - Is Your Baby Really Ill?

Download

Who can Help?

In children, a fever is considered to be 38° C and above. If your baby is under 6 months old and has a high temperature, it is important to seek advice from a health professional. 

If your child’s temperature drops below 35 (normal is 37) this could indicate they are seriously unwell. Please contact your GP or 111 for advice.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

The Lullaby Trust - Baby Check App- This app has simple checks that you can do if your baby is ill and helps you think about whether they need to see a doctor or health professional.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.

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