Michael just hadn’t been himself that day. He was grumpy, he was listless, and most worrying of all – he was hot to the touch.
It was a warm day and to begin with, my husband and I thought we’d overdressed him. But after we’d cooled his room and removed a layer of clothing, his temperature still hadn’t come down.
Like any new parents, we know that the first couple of months can be challenging, in all kinds of ways. A baby’s immune system is adapting to a new environment, and is constantly exposed to challenges that just don’t exist in the womb.
Common colds, flu, sore throats, ear infections, bacterial infections, even teething – there’s a very long list of things that can cause fever in young children. And some can be quite serious.
So how do you know when you should worry? Because as much as you don’t want to overreact and bother your doctor needlessly, you also don’t want to be careless and not treat something that could have significant implications for your child’s health.
Well, if you’re ever unsure, your best course of action is to do what we did: Chat with your child’s doctor or healthcare professional and find out what they recommend for fever.
Our doctor recommended we bring Michael to see him, if his temperature was 38 °C or over in his first 3 months, or 39 °C and over from 3 months and older (2).
He also likes to remind us that common remedies bring comfort and relief from the symptoms of pain and fever (1). They don’t treat the underlying causes and we should come see him if our baby’s symptoms persist for more than a day.
Michael’s temperature that day was 39 ºC, so we didn’t take any chances. Our doctor diagnosed Michael with a mild fever, and recommended a paediatric suspension with paracetamol – his first choice for treating fever, pain, sore throats and even teething pains, in children older than three months.
One important reason is that when paracetamol is used in the recommended doses it has few side effects and is very well tolerated (1).
Following the prescribed doses, it has few common side effects, and is gentle on your little bundle of joy’s system (2).
In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends paracetamol as a treatment for fever in children over 3 months (3).
Calpol is a strawberry flavoured paediatric suspension, which is alcohol and sugar free, and easy to administer to a fussy baby like Michael.
Within a few days, Michael’s fever had run its course, and he was back to his usual bouncy self.
Our moral of the story? It’s always best to rely on good advice and quality medication like Calpol, for the effective relief of pain and fever.
S0 CALPOL ® (Paediatric Suspension). B/2.7/767. Each 5 ml contains: Paracetamol 120 mg, Methyl Hydroxybenzoate 0,1 % m/v, Propyl Hydroxybenzoate 0,02 % m/v. Sucrose Free, Alcohol Free. Applicant: GlaxoSmithKline South Africa (Pty) Ltd, 57 Sloane Street, Bryanston 2021. For full prescribing information see package insert. 1Sullivan JE, Farrar HC, and the Section on Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Committee on Drugs. American Academy of Pediatrics. Clinical report – fever and antipyretic use in children. Pediatrics 2011;127:580-587. 2Cranswick N, Coghlan D. Paracetamol efficacy and safety in children: the first 40 years. Am J Ther 2000;7(2):135-41. 3Russell FM, Shann F, Curtis N, Mulholland K. Evidence on the use of paracetamol in febrile children. Bull World Health Organ 2003;81(5):367-372. For any safety issues contact GSK on 011 745 6660