New advice for parents: treat the child, not the fever

Recent New Zealand guidelines recommend that fever can actually be a good thing as it helps your child fight the infection1. The body’s natural response is to raise the core temperature to help ‘kill off’ the virus or bacteria.

So rather than automatically reaching for pain and fever medicine, the latest advice is to ‘treat the child, not the fever’2. It‘s important to look at all the symptoms, as well as the number on the thermometer. If your child is happy and not unwell, let the fever do its job. If your child is miserable because of the illness, then a dose of paracetamol such as Pamol® may help them to feel more comfortable. If you’re concerned about your child’s health, you should always see your doctor.

Will a fever harm my child1?

In most cases, no. Your child may feel a little miserable or uncomfortable, but a temperature is unlikely to cause any permanent harm. However, if you’re concerned, or if your child has a high temperature, you should take them to the doctor.

If the fever lasts for more than two days, or if your child has seen a doctor but is not improving or is getting worse, it pays to go back for another check (a high temperature following a virus may indicate a bacterial infection). Learn more about when to take your child to the doctor.


What about fever in babies1?

Young babies (less than three months old) need more careful treatment, as they can’t control their body temperatures as well as an older child can. Fever is rare in babies under six months of age and can be a sign of serious illness or infection. If your baby has a fever, seems unwell or even if you’re not sure, always see a doctor urgently. Find out more about fever in babies.



How can you help your child feel better?

If fever is making your child feel grizzly, grumpy and just plain miserable, paracetamol such as Pamol® can help him or her feel more comfortable. If you’re not sure of the right dose, you can check Pamol’s Little Helper, our handy interactive temperature checker and dosage calculator.
Or check out some more helpful fever-relieving tips.


References: 1. guidelines, endorsed by the Paediatric Society of NZ, accessed 25 Feb 2014. 2. Sullivan JE, Farrar HC. Fever and antipyretic use in children. Paediatrics. 2011; 127 (3): 580-7. PAMOL® for the treatment of child pain and fever. Pamol® contains paracetamol 250mg/5mL. Always read the label and use as directed. Incorrect use can be harmful. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. ® Registered Trademark. Aspen Pharmacare C/- Healthcare Logistics, Auckland, TAPS PP5193