Fever in children

GP consultation & treatments for when your child has a fever

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In one year, a child will catch over twice as many colds & flus as an adult. Colds & flus are caused by different types of viruses. Colds infect the nose, throat & sinuses, & may also cause fever. Flus can have more systemic & more pronounced symptoms.

“When you come in for your appointment, the GP will examine your child & discuss their symptoms with you. In many cases we will be able to treat your child at our clinic. If specialist care or opinion is warranted, the GP will write you a referral letter for a consultant paediatrician, & offer you some recommendations of specialists in our area or near to your home where possible.

The doctor will discuss with you whether antibiotics are appropriate in your child’s case. Antibiotics will only be prescribed in the case of bacterial infection. Colds are caused by viruses & as such do not respond to antibiotic treatment, so if there is no evidence of infection, antibiotics will not be prescribed. Overuse of antibiotics can create resistant infections.”


“Colds & flus are common in young children & often not serious, but it can of course be a worrying time for parents. It is recommended that you bring your child in for a consultation with a GP if you are at all concerned. Children have no immunity, & are constantly being exposed to new viruses & bacteria. It is through getting sick that they build immunity. Each time your child contracts a cold or flu, it teaches their immune system how to deal with that specific virus.

A cold is a viral infection of the nose, throat, & sinuses. It may also be accompanied by a fever. Common symptoms include:
a blocked or runny nose (congestion)
clear, thick, yellow, or green nasal discharge
sneezing & coughing
hoarse voice
generally feeling unwell

Flu, or influenza, is caused by different viruses to those which cause colds. Flus are highly contagious, & are more common in late autumn & early winter. Common flu symptoms in children include:
high temperature (up to 104F/40C)
aches & pains
sore throat

In babies, the indicators of influenza are less pronounced. Your baby may be irritable, have a lack of interest in food, difficulty nursing & sleeping, or poor circulation.

In general, the following are reasons to seek medical advice as quickly as possible:
a high fever in a baby younger than three months
breathing difficulties
inability to swallow saliva or fluid
severe earache
soreness in the throat for more than a few days
other symptoms such as swellings, headaches, or any serious pain
symptoms that have gone on for longer than ten days
signs of bacterial infection, such as green or brown mucus

Please note that it is not advised to give over-the-counter remedies to very young children. If your child is unwell, it is important to seek medical advice.”


How do I know when my child needs emergency care?

The most common warning signs to be aware of with children are fever of 38 degrees Celsius & above, or any injury that causes profuse bleeding. In both cases you will need to take your child to A& E. In general, if you are at all concerned about your child’s health, it is advised that you seek medical advice as quickly as possible.

Why do children get so many colds & flus?

Very young children can catch 10 colds or flus a year, which may seem like a lot. This is because they haven’t yet built up their immunity. Having a cold or flu gives them immunity to the specific virus causing the infection, so these illnesses are actually strengthening their immune systems.

How can I prevent my child from having repeated colds & flus?

For children, colds & flus are part of their development. Whilst you can take the same measures with children at home as you would for yourself, such as staying warmly bundled up in cold weather, avoiding going outside with wet hair, & taking vitamins, your child is naturally going to have plenty of viruses throughout the year. This is normal & nothing to worry about.