Patient Care

Fever (Children)

What is Fever in Children?

Fever is a symptom, not a disease. Like all symptoms, for example cough or vomiting, Fever may be due to illnesses that are minor or serious. Fortunately, most Fevers in children are due to infections that are minor and self-limiting.

Most Fevers which are associated with illnesses range between 38.3oC and 40.0oC and last for 3 to 5 days. In general, the intensity of the Fever does not relate to the severity of the illness. How your child behaves is what counts. Fever does not cause brain damage but may cause harm if it is more than 41.0oC. Fortunately, the brain's thermostat keeps untreated Fevers below this level.

Most Fevers in children are due to infections that are minor and resolve on their own.

However, a low-grade Fever does not necessarily mean that the illness is minor. Similarly, a high Fever does not necessarily mean a serious illness. The effect of paracetamol on Fever does not indicate the severity of the illness.

Your child must see a doctor if he or she is less than three months of age and has a fever.

What are the signs & symptoms of Fever in Children?

Your child has a fever if his or her body temperature is above:

  • 37.5oC in the mouth,
  • 37.3oC under the armpit or
  • 37.8oC in the ear
What are the treatment options for Fever in Children?

If your child is less than three months old, you should not give him or her medication unless it is advised by your child's doctor. If your child is above three months of age, you may give him or her paracetamol in liquid, tablet or suppository (rectal) form. The doctor may prescribe ibuprofen if the fever is higher.

Do not give your child aspirin or any drugs containing aspirin for the fever unless prescribed by the doctor. Bringing down the temperature with medication does not take away the cause of the fever but may make your child feel more comfortable.

Caring for children with Fever

Take your child's temperature in the morning, at bedtime and every four hours during the day or more often if your child looks ill. Your child may feel more comfortable if he or she is dressed in light clothing and is given lots of fluid to drink. Your child should also rest more.

Sometimes children who have had a minor illness develop a more serious infection later. If your child seems to be getting sicker and has any of the symptoms listed below, go to the Children's Emergency immediately. This applies even if your child has just left the Children's Emergency and is taking medications. It is better to return for a false alarm than to wait too long.

Bring your child to the Children's Emergency immediately if your child:

  • Is difficult to awaken. Fever may make children sleepier than usual but they should awaken easily and be able to interact with you.
  • Seems confused or delirious.
  • Is not moving or too weak to stand.
  • Has problem breathing.
  • Develops small purple spots on the skin that may look like bruises.
  • Cries constantly and you cannot settle him or her.
  • Has a skin colour that does not look right or becomes grey, pale or blue.
  • Has a fit (seizure or convulsion).
  • Develops new symptoms.
  • Cries when he or she goes to the bathroom.
  • Has foul smelling urine. He or she may have a urine infection.
Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'Fever (Children)' AND
  • Institution
1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block, Singapore 119228
Last updated on
Best viewed with Chrome 79.0, Edge 112.0, Firefox 61.0, Safari 11
National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Back to Top