A Fever’s Job

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Your child’s fever is a sign that their immune system is fighting an infection.  (Image: Supplied)
Your child’s fever is a sign that their immune system is fighting an infection. (Image: Supplied)

What is a Fever?

A fever is a body temperature that’s higher than the normal range.1 A child’s normal body temperature ranges between 36,5 °C and 37,5 °C and changes slightly over the course of the day. A body temperature over 38,0 °C in babies and 38,5 °C in children is considered a fever.2

The Role of a Fever

A fever is part of the body’s immune response.3 Immune cells are constantly patrolling our body for harmful invaders such as viruses, bacteria or parasites.3 These are the “first responders” to an infection. A fever is a signal to these cells that there is a threat.4

A body temperature over 38,0 °C in babies and 38,5 °C in children is considered a fever.2

Fever toon.

Fighting Invaders with a Heat Wave

The responding immune cells rush to the lymph nodes.3 These are bean shaped glands scattered throughout the body that trap and filter out damaged cells. They form part of the lymphatic system which protects the body against foreign invaders.5

The lymph nodes also make and store immune cells that destroy viruses and bacteria. When lymph nodes become swollen, it is a sign that they are fighting an infection.5

A higher body temperature activates molecules on the immune cells that make them sticky. This helps them stick to blood vessels near a lymph node so they can enter and join in the fight against the harmful invader.3

Does this Mean A Fever Should be Left Alone?

You are probably wondering if a fever should be left to do its job. Mostly this is true, however, children should be treated for a fever if it is above 39,5 °C or if they are feeling very unwell.2

Children should be treated for a fever if it is above 39,5 °C or if they are feeling very unwell.2

Treating a fever helps children feel better and drink those important fluids. Treat a child’s fever if the child:2,6

Fever chart.

How to Treat a Fever

Paracetamol is effective for treating fevers and has a long history of safety. It is recommended as the first drug of choice for fevers in children. As with all medications, they should be used according to the dosage instruction in the package insert.6

Suppositories are an effective alternative to oral treatment7

Benefits of Suppositories:

  • Exact dose, every time
  • No sugar, colourants or preservatives
  • Easy to use
  • No loss of efficacy due to vomiting
  • Alternative to oral therapy
How to insert suppositories.
Litha Pharma bear.


1.Harvard Health Publishing. Fever [online]. 2018 [cited 2021 Apr 7]. Available from: URL: https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/fever-a-to-z

2. InformedHealth.org. Fever in children: Overview [online]. NCBI Bookshelf. 2019 [cited 2021 Mar 9]. p. 1–5. Available from: URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279455/

3. Lin CD, Zhang YH, Zhang K, Zheng YJ, Lu L, Chang HS, et al. Fever Promotes T Lymphocyte Trafficking via a Thermal Sensory Pathway Involving Heat Shock Protein 90 and α4 Integrins. Immunity 2019;50(1):137–151.

4. Evans SS, Repasky EA, Fisher DT. Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune systems feels the heat. Nat Rev Immunol 2015;15(6):335–349.

5. Cleveland Clinic. Lymphatic System [online]. 2020 [cited 2021 Mar 13]. Available from: URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21199-lymphatic-system

6. El-Radhi ASM. Fever management: Evidence vs current practice. World J Clin Pediatr 2012;1(4):29–33.

7. Havaldar VD, Yadav AV, Dias RJ, Mali KK, Ghorpade VS, Salunkhe NH. Rectal suppository as an effective alternative for oral administration. Res J Pharm Technol 2015;8(6):759–766.

8. Safe Medication. Your Trusted Source of Drug Information. How to Use Rectal Suppositories Properly [online]. 2014 [cited 2021 Apr 7]. Available from: URL: http://www.safemedication.com/safemed/docs/Rectal-Suppositories-Flyer.pdf

Litha Pharma.

HCR Litha Pharma (Pty) Ltd. Reg. No.: 1994/008717/07. No 106 16th Rd, Midrand, 1686, Gauteng, South Africa.(011) 516-1700. www.acino.co.za. LP3423 04/2021. Exp. 04/2023

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Litha Pharma.

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