Emergency advice


  1. Keep them cool.
  2. Give them plenty of cool drinks.
  3. If they feel unwell give recommended dose of paracetamol.
  4. Monitor level of response.

What is a fever?

A fever is when a person has a persistent high temperature above 38°C (100.4°F). This is normally caused by a bacterial or viral infection and is often associated with a sore throat, earache, measles, meningitis or chickenpox. Beware of recent overseas travel. If a young child’s temperature rises above 39°C (102. 2°F) this can be dangerous and might trigger a seizure.

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • a persistently high temperature - above 38°C.
  • feeling cold, with goose pimples, shivering and chattering teeth.

Later they may have:

  • hot, flushed skin and sweating
  • a headache
  • general aches and pains.

What to do

  1. If someone has a fever, help make them comfortable and keep them cool, ideally in bed with a sheet or light duvet.

    • Do not use a sponge to cool them as there is a risk of overcooling.
  2. Give the casualty plenty of cool drinks to replace any fluid loss through sweating.

  3. If they’re feeling unwell, you can give them the recommended dose of paracetamol tablets for an adult, or the recommended dose of paracetamol syrup for a child.

    • Do not give aspirin to anyone under the age of 16.
  4. Monitor their level of response until they recover.

    • If you are worried, seek medical advice.

    In a child, contact 111 or GP surgery if:

    • they are under 3 months and have a temperature over 38C.
    • they are 3 - 6 months and have a temperature over 39C.
    • the temperature has lasted for over 5 days.
    • they do not want to eat or drink.
    • they are dehydrated - nappies that are not very wet, sunken eyes or your are worries about them.

    In a child, call 999 if they:

    • have a stiff neck.
    • have a rash that does not fade when you press it with a glass.
    • are bothered by light.
    • have a fit (febrile convulsion) for the first time.

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