Running a fever​

The human body has a thermostat which helps us to regulate our body temperature. The normal body temperature is between 36.5 °C and 37.5 °C. With infection or other illnesses, various chemicals are released in our body. This re-adjusts the thermostat, resulting in fever.

Fever facts

  • Fever is the body's way to fight infection. However, it is not just caused by infections alone.
  • How high a fever it does not indicate the severity of the illness that is causing the fever.
  • Overwrapping and a generally hot environment can cause the body temperature of a child to be slightly above normal.
  • Fever caused by viral infections may persist for up to 5 to 7 days and will only completely settle when the viral fever has resolved.
  • ​High fever per se does not cause brain damage, though a small percentage between 6 months to 6 years may have seizures with high fever. However, febrile seizures usually do not lead to brain damage.

Fever in children: Home remedies

  • Tepid sponging
    • May help if the temperature is more than 39.5 °C.
    • Use tap or lukewarm water to sponge.
    • Remove clothings, cover the child with towel, sponge and dry his face.
    • Apply the cool compress to forehead, nape of neck, armpits and groin (see diagram).
    • Proceed to sponge body starting with the front then to the back.
    • Generally you should not sponge a child for more than 30 minutes at a stretch.
    • Stop sponging when shivering occurs, or when the child turns blue.
    • When your child shivers, cover him up and wait a while before resuming sponging.
  • Encourage your child to take plenty of fluids.
  • Dress your child in light clothings to allow heat exchange.
  • Keep the room environment cool and well-ventilated to allow the ambient temperature to help bring the fever down.

Click on page 2 to read about common fever medications and know when to consult a doctor.

Ref: V10