Our body’s normal temperature ranges from 36.5ºC to 37ºC. A body temperature consistently above the normal temperature is considered a fever. Body temperature can be influenced by a lot of different factors, including the air temperature, time of the day, physical activity and age of the child. A child is considered to have a fever if their temperature is higher than 37.5ºC.
Fevers in children
Fevers play an important role in helping the body fight and recover from infection. They are the body’s natural defense mechanism.
Having a fever helps the immune system to work quickly by raising the body’s temperature. This makes it difficult for infections to multiply. Fevers are very common in children.
What are the common causes?
Infection is by far the most common cause of fever in children. Newborns acquire partial immunity from the placenta and additional protection from breastmilk. Fevers in young infants under three months old are rare and require urgent medical attention.
Infections become more common when infants come into contact with other children through daycare, playgroup, preschool and school. Infants with older siblings will be at a slightly higher risk of infection, as their siblings will often become a source of infection due to their socialising.
It is considered normal for children to experience on average 5-10 mild infections each year resulting in fever.
Fevers play an important role in helping the body fight and recover from infection.
The majority of infections causing fever in children are viral. With over a hundred different viruses it’s not surprising children get fevers so often.
Bacterial infections can be more serious in nature, often needing medical attention.