Fever in children »for no apparent reason

Fever in children

Fever in children often has the same causes as fever in adults: it is usually an infection with viruses, bacteria or other pathogens.

But children are fevering faster than adults and they are called fever from 38 ° C. Many classic teething problems run with fever. If the fever-causing illness disappears or is treated, the fever usually disappears again. These are special fever conditions in children "Dreitagefieber" and the febrile seizure. Dangerous illnesses (e.g. meningitis) that need faster therapy can also be behind high temperatures. Therefore: Always keep a close eye on fever in children and have the doctor clarify quickly in the event of any abnormalities!


Fever in children: causes

Fever is one of the most common symptoms that lead to a visit to the pediatrician. Because children quickly get a fever. Viruses, bacteria or other pathogens are the main causes of fever. The immune system fights against the intruders with the increase in body temperature: from 38.5 ° C, bacteria and viruses are weakened and can reproduce poorly. When a child is feverish, his body helps himself. Fever is part of the natural healing process, but should always be observed particularly well in children!

Most of the time the body is feverish with the defense against "common" Virus infections such as colds and flu, gastrointestinal infections or otitis media – all kinds of inflammations in the body are often accompanied by fever. However, it can also result from dangerous infections such as pneumonia or meningitis (meningitis), which often lead to fatalities in small children. In addition, there can be a number of causes behind an increased temperature in children – just like in feverish adults.

Different types of fever

Most childhood diseases, such as measles, mumps or rubella, are accompanied by fever in certain phases of the disease. Fever conditions that typically only occur in children are the so-called three-day fever and febrile seizure. Three-day fever often affects infants and toddlers up to 3 years of age, but occasionally also older children. Most infections that cause this happen in the first 12 months of life. A febrile seizure occurs in 2 to 4% of all small children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years.

How high is the fever?

In children, it is particularly important to correctly assess increased body temperature. Fever is already spoken in infants and toddlers at a slightly lower body temperature than is the case in adults:



. very high fever

If a child has a fever, one should regularly measure the temperature, make a note of the values ​​and always keep a close eye on the general condition of the child!

Fever in children: symptoms

A feverish child makes a sick, weakened impression. His forehead feels much warmer than usual; Hands and feet can be warm or cold.

There are different types of fever:

  • some babies are hot and dry,
  • others cold (hands and feet) and moist (sweat)

But both on the torso and head "types" hot right away.

Fever can accelerate the heartbeat and breathing – it puts a strain on the circulation. With high fever, dizziness, confusion and perception disorders may also appear. Then contact the pediatrician immediately. If the child has a very high fever or even shows impaired consciousness, notify the rescue! Because an increase in body temperature above 40 ° C can damage organs and tissues and can even be fatal!

When to the doctor?

A pediatrician should be consulted or called if:

  • the body temperature of a baby up to three months old rises above 38 ° C,
  • mild to moderate fever in a child under 2 years of age lasts longer than a day,
  • mild to moderate fever persists in an older child for more than three days,
  • the fever quickly reaches 39.0 ° C or higher,
  • other symptoms such as stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting or rash are added,
  • the child’s behavior is conspicuous or his perception is impaired,
  • the fever does not decrease despite suppository and calf wrap,
  • a febrile seizure occurs,
  • if the fever occurs intermittently or repeatedly. Then e.g. the so-called. "Periodic fever syndrome" present, which is one of the rheumatic diseases.

Additional rules apply to newborns! Because young infants can also have severe infections without developing a fever, since their body’s immune system (immune system) is not yet fully developed.

Parents of babies up to 3 months should always immediately consult a pediatrician if the child’s body temperature is above 38 ° C! You should also do this – even without a fever – if your child:

  • has an unusual skin tone or a rash
  • does not want to eat two meals
  • repeatedly vomits
  • Has diarrhea
  • looks particularly dazed and reacts little
  • striking (much) screams

Fever in children: measure correctly

To determine the body temperature of the child as accurately as possible, it is best to measure in the buttocks fever. Values ​​determined in the mouth, ear, forehead or under the armpit are less precise or lower than the core body temperature.

Babies and toddlers are placed on their backs to measure their fever. Then raise the legs and carefully insert the clinical thermometer – dabbed with a little petroleum jelly or cream at the tip – about 1 centimeter deep into the anus. Hold the clinical thermometer lightly so that it does not slip out of your buttocks. Digital thermometers emit a signal when the measurement is completed (approximately after 1 minute). Glass fever thermometers should be used to measure in the butt for 3 to 4 minutes. Children often struggle hard during this long period because they feel uncomfortable. Therefore, measure with glass clinical thermometers rather under the armpit, even if the measured temperature is less accurate than in the buttocks.

If the child shows an increased body temperature, take a fever measurement every half to full hour, note the values ​​and always keep a close eye on the general condition of the child! See a pediatrician if the values ​​rise quickly or if the child is otherwise noticeable. There may be dangerous diseases behind it that require immediate treatment, such as meningitis.

If a child has a fever for no apparent reason – it does not have a cough, runny nose, diarrhea, etc. – the pediatrician will search for the source of infection using the exclusion procedure. This usually requires a urine sample and a blood sample to be analyzed.

Therapy for fever

Therapy for fever depends on the underlying cause. If the disease that triggers the fever is treated – such as a normal bacterial infection with antibiotics – the fever usually goes away on its own.


Fever can also be treated purely symptomatically, i.e. with antipyretic agents. Especially with children, you should first try antipyretic home remedies such as calf wraps, because the little ones cannot tolerate all antipyretic drugs! In addition, fever basically makes sense: With its help, the child’s body can defeat bacteria and viruses on its own. If you reduce the fever too quickly with medication, you interrupt the natural healing process.

However, if the temperature rises above 39.0 ° C, you should take countermeasures: the classic active ingredient for babies is paracetamol. Ibuprofen is also permitted from the age of 6 months. For children there are both active ingredients as suppositories or juice. Follow the dosage recommendations in the package insert carefully and ask the pediatrician if anything is unclear!

Do not give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to young children in particular! In children, this active ingredient may trigger the deadly Reye syndrome, a rare liver and brain disease.

As already mentioned, new rules apply to newborns: with babies under 3 months, go to the doctor quickly from 38.0 ° C and do not administer antipyretic agents on your own! And for everyone else the following applies: if the fever rises very quickly, lasts longer or shows other abnormalities (see above), you must see a pediatrician!

Fever in children: what else can the affected person do?

It is best to put the child in bed; it takes a lot of rest in case of fever. Make sure that the child is not dressed too warm. You can feel the body heat well on the neck. If it is sweaty, the baby is too warm! Suitable clothing is made of light cotton, such as a long-sleeved boy or shirt. In addition, do not cover the baby too warm! The ideal room temperature is 18 to 20 ° C. Continuous ventilation to ensure good air in the hospital room, but avoid drafts.

Drink a lot

It is especially important to drink a lot in case of fever! Because then the body needs more fluid than normal.

Many feverish children are very thirsty for cold, which is best quenched with water, mild juice spritzer or cooled teas. However, other children did not want to drink and have no appetite. Refusing to eat is not a problem for a few days. But the child must take in liquid so that the small body does not dry out. Therefore, always offer children drinks, if necessary give them with a teaspoon! Create nursing children frequently!

Calf wrap lowers fever

Calf wraps as the classic home remedy for fever should only be used in children when the body is completely warm – including hands and feet! If you want to make a baby’s calf wrap, dip two small cotton towels in water that is about 2 ° C colder than baby’s body temperature. Gently wring out the wrist around both lower legs from the ankle to the knee, put two dry cloths on top and fasten with large wool socks. Renew after 10 minutes. Repeat the calf wrap a maximum of 3 times in a row. In between, keep measuring fever and make sure that the body temperature does not drop too quickly. Also important: if baby’s feet get cold, stop immediately!


Homeopathy is based on the assumption that illnesses can be cured if the sick organism is supplied in very small quantities with the substances which, in higher doses, produce similar symptoms in healthy people (cure similar things with similar things). There is no documented evidence that homeopathic medicines have a safe effect in children.

Under no circumstances should the necessary medical treatment with homeopathic medication be delayed. All homeopathic preparations that are administered in a stressful manner (such as suppositories or eye drops) must be avoided at all costs.

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Christina Cherry
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