Symptoms/disease

Fever in children

Feber hos barn - engelska

Having a fever means that your body temperature is higher than usual. It is the body’s way of defending itself against infection. Children often get a fever.

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It is common to get a fever when, for example, you have a cold, cough or sore throat. Fever is common in children, especially young children.

A fever is considered to be a body temperature of 38°C or higher.

Fever is usually not serious. However, it can be serious if the fever is high.

What symptoms does a feverish child have?

The child will show one or more of the following symptoms:

  • The child’s body is warm.
  • The child is tired.
  • The child seems unhappy and irritable.
  • The child is sleeping more, or less, than usual.
  • The child is not eating or drinking as usual.

The child may become very cold and shiver as their body temperature rises. They may also break out in a sweat.

You can take your child’s temperature with a thermometer

Use a thermometer that measures body temperature.

The most accurate result is obtained by taking the child’s temperature in the ear or rectum. Use the rectal method if the child is younger than one.

Let the child rest for half an hour before taking their temperature.

You can purchase a thermometer at the pharmacy. Ask the staff for advice.

How to take the temperature in the ear

Use a thermometer that measures body temperature in the ear.

Cover the thermometer probe without touching the probe. Gently pull the ear up and back. Insert the thermometer straight into the ear.

Press the button and wait until the thermometer beeps. Now you can see your child’s temperature.

How to take the temperature in the rectum

Put some ointment, baby oil or cooking oil on the thermometer.

Insert the thermometer into the rectum.

  • For children younger than six months: only insert the tip of the thermometer.
  • For children older than six months: insert 1–2 cm of the thermometer.

It is important that the child is lying still when you take their temperature, otherwise it may cause pain.

Clean the thermometer afterwards.

Here you can see an instructional video on how to take the temperature in the ear.

What you can do to help your child

  • Encourage the child to be calm. However, it is not necessary that they lie down all the time.
  • Keep the child company.
  • Make sure that the child drinks more than usual.
  • Give the child food and drink that they enjoy. It is okay if the child eats less than usual for a few days.
  • Remove the child’s clothing or blankets if they get too warm. Open the window.
  • Put more clothing on the child or cover them with a blanket if they start to get cold.

When and where should I seek medical care?

Fever is a common condition and most people do not need to seek medical care when they have a fever.

Contact a healthcare clinic if your child’s fever lasts for more than four days.

A healthcare clinic can also be referred to as, for example, a GP surgery, a family doctor practice, or a healthcare centre.

When urgent medical care is required

You should contact a healthcare clinic immediately if any of the following apply:

  • The child has a temperature of 41°C or higher.
  • The child has a fever and seems very ill.
  • The child is younger than six months and has a fever.
  • The child has visited a tropical country, and now has a fever along with a headache or body pain.

Some healthcare clinics are open during evenings and weekends.

Seek care at the emergency department if the healthcare centre is closed or unable to receive you.

Finding a healthcare clinic

You can find a healthcare clinic here. The page shows a list of clinics and a map. The information is in Swedish.

Call 1177 if you need help

Call 1177 if you need help. They can tell you where to seek medical care, if necessary. The person who answers your call will be a nurse who speaks both Swedish and English. Sometimes it is possible to get help in other languages.

If you are calling from a phone with a foreign number, please dial 0046 771 11 77 00.

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