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The management of fever in children

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Fever can be defined as 'an elevation of body temperature above the normal daily variation'.1 Parents are often anxious that fever may harm their child and that a high fever is associated with a risk of febrile convulsion. It is not surprising that fever is one of the most common clinical symptoms managed by paediatricians and other health professionals.1

Studies have shown that, every year, about 40% of preschool children are taken to a health professional for a febrile illness.2 There is a general assumption among parents and clinicians that all fever should be treated with antipyretic medication. More and more studies are highlighting the dangers of overuse of antipyretic medication in children, and this article aims to highlight how clinicians can rationally and safely use such medicines in children.

Fever is a normal physiological response to infection and illness, and it has an important role in the immunological response. It is important to remember that the range of normal temperature will vary, depending on the method of recording the temperature (e.g. axilla and aural).

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