NORMAL TEMPERATURE RANGE: 36.5 TO 37.5 DEGREES
– a kind of fit when the child’s body becomes still, his arms and legs twitch and he may lose consciousness.”
About one in 20 children aged between six months and six years will have one of these seizures, and in most cases they aren’t serious. “If they last for less than five minutes, they don’t usually have any serious consequences in themselves,” says Elia. “However, there’s a danger that, during the convulsion, a child could bite his tongue, bang his head or choke on his own vomit.”
If your child has had febrile convulsions before, or other people in your family have suffered from febrile convulsions, take steps to reduce the fever.
Also, if your child is under three months, seems very ill or has a chronic illness in addition to the fever, Nichola says it’s vital he is seen by a doctor.
How to lower a fever
Once they’ve decided to take action to reduce a temperature, most mums turn to the medicine cabinet. “Giving your child paracetamol should always be the first treatment,” says Elia. Paracetamol has a direct impact on the brain, acting as a painkiller and affecting the temperature centres in the brain to lower a fever. “It can be used on its own or in combination with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen,” he explains.
According to the Victorian government’s Better Health Channel, other ways to lower a fever include removing excess clothing or blankets and giving your child clear fluids to drink (small amounts of water or diluted fruit juice for children, or breastmilk for babies under six months). “Encourage your child to drink, as children with a fever need more fluids,” explains Nichola. “Keep in mind, though, that sponging with water and fanning children with fevers is not recommended.”
If your child’s fever and discomfort aren’t lessened after administering paracetamol and ibuprofen, call your GP immediately or head to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.