Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Fever in children infographic (text only)

2-minute read

Fever in children

www.healthdirect.gov.au

What is a fever?

A temperature of 38°C or higher is a fever. It's usually a sign of illness, such as an infection.

Types of thermometer

Digital: Quick to use, accurate and suitable for oral, armpit or anal readings. Always use a digital thermometer under the armpit with children younger than 5.

Ear (tympanic): Placed in the child's ear canal, ear thermometers are quick to use but must be carefully positioned for an accurate reading.

Touchless (forehead) thermometer: Inaccurate if not placed correctly. This measures the child's temperature using an infrared reading of an artery in the forehead. The thermometer does not touch the skin.

Pain relief medicines and children

  • Avoid pain relief medicines unless the child is in pain or discomfort.
  • Children aged 1 month or older may take paracetamol.
  • Children aged 3 months or older (and weighing more than 5kg) may take paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Decision tree: What should I do?

  • If your child has a temperature of 38°C or higher…
  • Is your child aged 0 – 3 months?
    • YES - See a doctor immediately
  • Is your child more than 3 months old?
    • YES - Does your child have any of these symptoms as well as a fever? Headache or stiff neck, drowsiness, seizure, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhoea, new skin rash, dehydration.
      • YES - See a doctor immediately
      • NOT SURE? - Call healthdirect on 1800 022 222
      • NO - Manage fever at home. If your child is older than 3 months and seems well, you can treat them at home: - Keep fluids up - Dress in light clothing - Keep the room cool - Consider pain relief.

This infographic does not replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Read the label on the packet and information pamphlet before using medicines. For further information, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or speak to your health professional. In an emergency, call triple zero (000) without delay.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Secondary breast cancer | Cancer Australia

Secondary breast cancer is invasive breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of the body

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Dealing With Uni & TAFE When You Have Cancer - CanTeen

Your daily life and routines will change when you're dealing with cancer. Learn more and get information, help and support with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Small and Oat Cell Carcinoma - Information & Support - CanTeen

Small cell lung cancers occurs when cancer cells form in lung tissue and include oat cell cancers. Learn more about causes and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma occurs when abnormal cells in the skin grow in an uncontrolled way.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Other Cancers - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Other cancers cover a range of uncommon and rare cancers and tumours. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Prostate Cancer - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Prostate cancer is condition that affects the male organs responsible for semen production. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Head & Neck Cancers - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Head and neck cancers are a broad range of conditions that often cause carcinomas. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Medulloblastoma - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

A medulloblastoma is one of the most common brain tumours in children. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Germ Cell Tumours - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Germ Cell tumours come from the reproductive cells and mainly affect the ovaries in women, and the testes in men. Click to learn more about causes and treatments.

Read more on CanTeen website

Large Cell Lung Cancers - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Non-small cell lung cancers are a range of conditions that occur when cancer cells form in lung tissue. Learn more about causes and treatments.

Read more on CanTeen website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo