Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting

The key to dealing with your child’s fever

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Most parents will attest that watching a child go through the discomfort of a fever can be very stressful on both emotional and practical levels. Knowing just what to do, and when to do it, is a challenge moms have faced for many generations.

Clinically speaking, fever is a normal physiological response that allows the body to fight an infection.  This sounds simple enough, but there are many realities at play that make the management of a fever especially complex for parents.

Firstly, a raised temperature can be a warning sign of serious illness as well as an indicator of a child’s normal response to an infection. This is one of the primary reasons parents are often so worried about a child’s raised temperature.

Another issue is the fact that fever is uncomfortable and distressing for the child, and no parent wants to see their child stressed unnecessarily. If steps can be taken to reduce the load that comes with a fever, they should be.

As a result of this complicated context, establishing clear guidelines through which to assess a fever is a very important exercise for parents and health practitioners alike. Experts make it clear that the parent’s primary goal in treating a child with a fever should be to improve their overall comfort, rather than to focus on the normalisation of body temperature.

When, however, the fever contributes to pain or notable discomfort, such as a headache, the use of analgesic medication for relief is appropriate.

In addition to paying careful attention to assessing and controlling the child’s general discomfort, parents should also familiarise themselves with the broader guidelines set out by health professionals in the management of fever in children.

Essential Fever Management Tips

Avoid over and under-dressing: Obviously parents should avoid under-dressing the child, but it’s also important to remember that over-dressing prevents the body from cooling. Dress the child in cool, light clothing, preferably a single layer. Cover them with a sheet or light blanket.

Relieve pain as it arises: Use approved paediatric products able to offer effective yet gentle relief if the child is in discomfort and / or pain. Products like Calpol are safe to use from 3 months to 6 years for the symptomatic relief of mild to moderate pain caused by teething pains, fever, toothache, sore throats and headaches.

Use fluids: Children lose water during a fever and can become dehydrated, so give them plenty of cool liquid to drink.

Love: There is nothing more comforting to a distressed child than receiving love and affection.

Calpol is available in a 100ml bottle at a Recommended Retail Selling Price of R39.99

Calpol is also available in a 50ml bottle at a Recommended Retail Selling Price of R19.99

Calpol directions for use:

Shake the bottle before use


3 months to 1 year:  ½ a medicine measure (2.5 ml)
1 – 2 years: 1 medicine measure (5 ml)
3 – 6 years: 2 medicine measures (10 ml)
May be given 3 to 4 times daily, but with an interval of 4 hours between each dose.
Doctor should be consulted if no relief is obtained within the recommended dose. (2)


Janice E. Sullivan, MD, Henry C. Farrar, MD, and the SECTION ON CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS, and COMMITTEE ON DRUGS, Fever and Antipyretic use in Children, Published in Pediatrics 127:580–587, April 7 2011, Page 1

2. Janice E. Sullivan, MD, Henry C. Farrar, MD, and the SECTION ON CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS, and COMMITTEE ON DRUGS, Fever and Antipyretic use in Children, Published in Pediatrics 127:580–587, April 7 2011, Page 1

3. National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health, Feverish Illness in Children NHS National Institute for Clinical Excellence Quick Reference Guide 47, May 2007, Page 14

4. Noel Cranswick and David Coghlan, Paracetamol Efficacy and Safety in Children: The First 40 Years,  Published in the American Journal of Therapeutics 7 p. 135-41,  2000, Page 1.

About GSK
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the world’s fast moving consumer health care companies.  GSK has a factory in South Africa, situated in Cape Town. The company has a proud track record of helping South African families to do more, feel better and live longer through the use of appropriate, scientifically proven products.

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