COLUMN: What to do if someone has a fever

This week we offer advice on treating a fever . A fever is when a person has a persistent high temperature above 37°C (98.6°F).

This is normally caused by a bacterial or viral infection and are 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.

What to look for:

• A persistently high temperature - above 37°C (98.6°F);

• Feeling cold, with goose pimples, shivering and chattering teeth;

• Pale skin;

Later they may have:

• Hot, flushed skin and sweating;

• A headache;

• General aches and pains

What to do:

• 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;

• Give the casualty plenty of cool drinks to replace any fluid loss through sweating;

• 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;

• Monitor their level of response until they recover;

• If you’re worried about their condition then call their local doctor’s surgery, or NHS advice line for free on 111;

• If their temperature is above 39°C, call the doctor, or the NHS advice line for free on 111.

For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website ( offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice.

For more information about first aid courses please call 08700 10 49 50.