What is a Temperature?

Fever reading and taking temperature

When your child is sick with an infection (caused by either bacteria or a virus), it is common to have a fever. A fever will not hurt your child. Usually, it goes away after 72 hours (3 days).

Measurement method Normal temperature range

Rectum 36.6°C to 38°C (97.9°F to 100.4°F)
Mouth 35.5°C to 37.5°C (95.9°F to 99.5°F
Armpit 34.7°C to 37.3°C (94.5°F to 99.1°F)
Ear 35.8°C to 38°C (96.4°F to 100.4°F)

Converting Celsius to Fahrenheit
Multiply the Celsius figure by 9, divide by 5, and add 32.

Converting Fahrenheit to Celsius
Subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit figure, multiply by 5, and divide by 9.

What can I do if my child has a fever?

The degree (or height) of a fever does not tell you how serious your child’s illness is. How a child acts is usually a better sign. A child with a mild infection can have a high fever, while a child with a severe infection might have no fever at all.
Keep your child comfortable, and offer plenty of fluids. If your baby has a fever, remove extra blankets and clothing so heat can leave her body and help lower the body temperature. But don’t take off all your child’s clothes, because she may become too cold and start shivering, which produces more body heat, causing the temperature to rise again. Sponging your child with tepid (lukewarm) water, alcohol baths and rubs are not recommended.

Contact your health care provider if your child:

  • Has a fever and is less than 6 months old.
  • Has a fever for more than 72 hours.
  • Is excessively cranky, fussy or irritable.
  • Is excessively sleepy, lethargic or does not respond.
  • Is persistently wheezing or coughing.
  • Has a fever and a rash or any other signs of illness that worry you.

A child or teenager with a fever should not be given aspirin. [acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)] If the fever is due to chickenpox, influenza or certain other viral infections, taking aspirin can increase the risk of Reye’s syndrome. This is a very serious condition that can damage the liver and brain.For More Information Visit Caring for Kids

Written by Canadian Paediatric Society

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