Blog - Children's Symptoms

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What temperature should your baby or child be?

What is a normal body temperature for babies and kids?

Picture this. Your precious baby has just woken up halfway through the night. She’s crying more than usual, but you’re not sure why. As you gently try to rock her back to sleep, you notice that she feels a little warm, so you take out your thermometer and slip it under her arm. It beeps. You glance down at the screen and see those flashing numbers peering back at you–38.7 degrees. You panic. Isn’t that...high? You slowly realise, as you pack away the thermometer and consider your next steps, that you’re not actually sure what a normal baby or child temperature is.

When a child has a higher temperature than normal, often, our first instinct is to worry. And rightly so. A fever in children can be a symptom of conditions that are completely benign or very serious. But when is your baby’s temperature normal, and when should you seek medical attention?

How to tell if your child has a high temperature

Sometimes, you will be able to tell if your child has a high temperature just by touching their skin. Other signs to look out for include 1:

● Your child feels hotter than usual when you touch their forehead, back or stomach

● Your child appears hot and flushed, with red cheeks

● Your child feels sweaty

If your child shows any of the fever symptoms listed above, or you suspect that they have a high temperature for any other reason, you should always check their temperature with a thermometer.

What is a 'normal' temperature for a baby or a child?

Once you take their temperature, you need to work out whether it’s normal or not. A normal baby’s body temperature should be around 36.4, but this will vary from child to child1 . In children under 52, a fever (high temperature) is considered to be a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above. A temperature of 38C or higher in babies under three months of age, or a temperature of 39C or more in babies between 3-6 months old, should be seen by a doctor1.

How to take a child’s temperature

Digital thermometers can give you a fast, accurate temperature reading and can be purchased from your local pharmacy or large supermarket3. To take your child’s temperature, hold them comfortably on your knee and place the thermometer under their armpit. Hold their arm gently yet firmly against their body so the thermometer doesn’t fall out. Keep it there until the reading is complete–some digital thermometers beep when they’re ready. Always use a thermometer in the armpit for children under the age of five.

How to make sure that your baby’s temperature reading is accurate

Digital thermometers can help to give you an accurate reading of your baby’s temperature, but there are a few things which could affect the accuracy of the readings. It’s best to wait a few minutes before taking your baby’s temperature if they have been3:

● Wearing lots of clothes

● Having a bath

● Tucked up in a blanket

● In a very warm room

● Physically active

How often should you check your baby’s temperature?

When your baby has a fever you should be regularly checking their temperature to make sure they are okay. However, it’s important that your baby gets as much rest as possible to help fight the infection or virus causing the fever. Using a traditional digital thermometer may wake your baby or child. One way to avoid waking them up at night to take their temperature is to use the Nurofen for Children FeverSmart Temperature Monitor .

The FeverSmart consists of two things: the wearable patch and an app you download to your phone. The wearable patch is applied to your baby or child and automatically syncs to the FeverSmart app on your smartphone. meaning you can monitor your baby’s temperature continuously without needing to disturb them. This helps to give you , as the parent, peace of mind and may allow you all to get more rest than if you were to manually check your baby’s temperature throughout the night*.

While it’s difficult to see your baby feeling under the weather, most will recover from a fever after a few days without further treatment. However, in some cases, you may need to treat the high temperature afflicting your baby or child and/or seek medical attention.

*It is important that you always continue to monitor your child's wellbeing and check for signs and symptoms of illness. Disclaimer: Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.

1. NHS-UK. Fever in children. Available at: (Accessed: 8th October 2018)

2. NHS-UK. Treating a fever (high temperature) in children. Available at: (Accessed: 16th October 2018)

3. NHS-UK. How to take your baby’s temperature. Available at: (Accessed: 8th October 2018)

Headaches in children: what causes them and how to treat

Common causes of headache in children

It’s been a long day at school and your child comes home complaining of a headache.
As parents, we all worry when our children complain of pain. Thankfully, serious causes of headaches are rare1 and headaches happen to be one of the most common types of pain in children2. Most children and teenagers get at least one headache a year3 and up to three out of every four children complain of having a headache each month1. Headaches can have a big impact on your child’s life so it is important to understand them.

What causes them and what can you do if your child has a headache?

What causes a headache in children?

Most headaches in children are usually not serious. Some general factors which may trigger a headache include 4:
● cold or flu
● stress4 or anxiety3
● bad posture
● vision problems
● skipping meals or not eating regularly
● taking too many painkillers
● dehydration or blood sugar changes brought on by playing sports3

Types of headaches

There are several types of headaches that may affect children, including migraines, tension-type headaches, cluster headaches, and medication-overuse headaches.

Tension-type headaches

If your child has a tension headache, they may describe it as a feeling of tightness in the head or neck5. It’s usually mild to moderate in severity, does not pulsate, and is not usually worsened by physical activity. It usually isn’t accompanied by nausea or vomiting and parents may find that younger children may play less and want to sleep more. It can last anywhere from half an hour to several days.


A migraine headache is usually a severe, throbbing headache that may be felt on one side of your child's head (sometimes the side may change or the pain is on both sides of the head)6. It can last for over 4 hours if not treated, gets worse with activity, is often accompanied by nausea, and feels like it’s pulsating (though some may complain of a dull or stabbing feeling). Some people may have visual warning signs before a migraine headache comes on. This is called an aura. If your child has an aura before a migraine, they may say that they can see sparkling lights or describe other visual symptoms. If your child has a migraine, they may also feel nauseous and have difficulty coping with light and loud noises. Doctors believe that migraines occur when blood vessels in the brain both open (dilate) and tighten (constrict), leading to a headache 6 . However, the exact cause of migraines is still not understood very well.

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches are very rare in children7 but can happen. If your child has a cluster headache, they may complain of a very intense pain on only one side of the head that very often starts after they fall asleep7. They may describe it as being a sharp, stabbing pain5. A child with a cluster headache may also seem teary, have a blocked or a runny nose, or be restless and agitated. Cluster headaches get their name because they often occur in bouts, for 6-12 weeks,once every year or two years, and often at the same time each year7.

Medication overuse headache

Medication overuse headaches may occur in some children. These headaches may happen if someone overuses painkillers to treat their headaches (usually on 15 or more days a month)7 or frequent use of common migraine medications (on 10 or more days a month).

Chronic daily headaches

A “chronic daily headache” is the name given by doctors to a headache that occurs 15 or more days every month5. Chronic daily headaches can be caused by many things. They may be migraines or tension-type headaches, or they may be caused by an infection, minor head injury, or taking too many pain medications 5 . If your child has a chronic headache, it’s best to speak with your GP to rule out any serious problems.

When to see a doctor

Most headaches in children aren’t serious and can be treated at home3. But if you are at all worried about your child’s headache, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about it.

See your doctor if your child’s headache4:
● keeps coming back
● is accompanied by bad throbbing pain at the front or side of their head
● is accompanied by feeling sick, vomiting, or sensitivity to light or noise
● doesn’t respond to painkillers
● is accompanied by other symptoms, such as arms or legs feeling numb or weak
● is interfering with schoolwork3

See the GP urgently if your child has a severe headache and their jaw hurts when eating, has blurred or double vision or their scalp feels sore.
Take your child to the A&E or call 999 if your child4:

● has injured their head badly, such as after a fall or accident
● has a headache that comes on suddenly or is extremely painful

How to treat a headache in children

If your child has a headache, you can do the following to try and help them through it3:
● lie them down in a quiet, dark room
● put a cool, moist cloth across their forehead or eyes
● ask them to breathe easily and deeply
● encourage them to have plenty of rest and sleep
● encourage them to eat or drink something (without caffeine)

Some other natural ways to help children with headaches include relaxation techniques and even the use of a headache diary 8 , which will also be useful to keep track of your child’s headaches and identify possible triggers. These simple steps may be enough to help your child recover. However, if you think your child needs painkillers, start them as soon as possible after a headache begins. Pain-relief medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen * may help to relieve your child’s headache 3 . Make sure that you give your child the medication and dose that is suitable for their age. If you believe your child may have a migraine, speak to your pharmacist about medication that treats migraines and is suitable for children.

*Nurofen for Children Orange/Strawberry: Singles / Cold, Pain and Fever 100g/5ml Oral suspension / Baby Oral suspension /3 months to 9 years 100mg/5ml Oral suspension / 3 months to 12 years Oral suspension. Contains ibuprofen, for children over 3 months (weighing more than 5kg) to 12 years. For pain relief. Nurofen for children 100 mg, chewable capsules, soft. For fever and
pain relief in children aged 7 to 12 years. Contains Ibuprofen. Always read the label. Use only as directed.If symptoms persist consult your healthcare  rofessional. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to  iagnose or prescribe. For further advice please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

1. Moreno, M. A. Advice for patients. Treating headaches in children and adolescents. JAMA
Pediatr. 167, 308 (2013).
2. Perquin, C. W. et al. Pain in children and adolescents: a common experience. Pain 87, 51–58 (2000).
3. NHS-UK. Headaches in children. Available at: (Accessed: 18th October 2018)
4. NHS-UK. Headaches. Available at:
(Accessed: 29th November 2018)
5. Headaches in children - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic (2016). Available at:
(Accessed: 18th October 2018)
6. Kantor, D. The impact of migraine on school performance. Neurology 79, 168–169 (2012).
7. E A Macgregor T J Steiner. Guidelines for All Healthcare Professionals in the Diagnosis
and Management of Migraine, Tension-Type, Cluster and Medication-Overuse Headache.
British Association for the Study of Headache 3rd edition, (2010).
8. Genizi, J. & Srugo, I. Primary Headache in Children and Adolescents: From
Pathophysiology to Diagnosis and Treatment. J Headache Pain Manag 1, (2016).
For use

Vaccinations: how they work, side-effects and treatment

Dealing with immunisation side-effects

Noone likes it.

Carting our little babies off to the clinic to get their vaccinations done can fill many of us with anxiety. Babies cry (whilst we hold back tears), doctors jab, and soon enough, there may be a tiny bump on our little one's arm or leg to show for their bravery.

Its not fun but its a rite of passage that millions of children go through in the UK each year to help prevent the spread and development of many nasty diseases. In some cases, your baby or child may have some mild side-effects afterwards. This is very common and is often easily treated.

But before we dig into tie side-effects of vaccines and how to treat them, let's first look at how vaccines work.

How do vaccines work?

Our bodies are always facing the possibility of war - a battle between our immune system and all the horrible diseases in this world. Vaccines work by producing antibodies to fight disease1 without actually infecting us with the disease' so that if we do ever come into contact with the disease, our immune system will immediately identify it and produce the antibodies we need to fight it

Why are vaccinations important?

Vaccines are important because they reduce the number of cases from certain diseases. A long time ago, people used to have horrible side-effects (and sometimes die) from diseases that we have now largely eradicated thanks to the use of vaccines.

Vaccines work best when many people in a community have had them—creating something called herd immunity2. If many people in a community have had the vaccine, the disease cannot spread very easily. This reduces tie number of cases of the disease and helps to protect vulnerable members of our society (such as babies and people who are very sick). As more people in the community are vaccinated against a certain disease, it may eventually be eradicated completely (as with smallpox).

Why does my child need so many vaccines?

Each vaccine is specially created to treat one disease. Dozens of different types of vaccines exist that work against different diseases. In the UK, healthy children are recommended to have a certain number of vaccines to help protect against various diseases as early in life as possible. These vaccines are all listed in the NHS vaccination schedule. To make it easier for For use on the Nurofen for Children website parents (and so children need fewer jabs), some vaccines have been rolled up into one single shot. such as the 6-in-l vaccine, which contains six different vaccines in one injection3

Side-effects of vaccination

It is completely normal to be concemed that your child may have side-effects after vaccination. Though all vaccines have the potential to cause side-effects, most of those side-effects are mild and don't last very long4.

Common side effects of vaccination include4:

  • swelling and redness at the injection site
  • mild fever
  • shivering
  • fatigue
  • a headache
  • muscle pain

Symptoms usually go away within a couple of days on their own. Some people may have an immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine, called an anaphylactic reaction. This reaction can be potentially life-threatening. However, this is very rare- less than 1 in a million cases - and completely reversible if treated immediately by healthcare staff (this is why many clinics often ask you to stay in the waiting room for a few minutes after a vaccination)4.

It is important to remember that not all illnesses that occur after vaccination will be a side effect. Millions of people are vaccinated each year which means that it is inevitable that some will coincidentally have an illness or infection shortly after4.

Caring for your child after a vaccination

Your child may feel tired, feverish, or uncomfortable after their vaccination. There are several ways you can help to improve their comfort during this time.

Some ways to help your little one feel better after their vaccination include4,5:

  • Give ibuprofen* or paracetamol to help bring your child's temperature down if they develop a fever.
  • Give them plenty of cool fluids to drink.
  • Keep them cool. Avoid wrapping them in too many layers of clothes or blankets.
  • Avoid covering the area where the needle went in if it is painful for your child.

And don't forget to give your child lots of hugs and cuddles!

*Nurofen for Children website Orange/Strawberry: Singles / Cold, Pain and Fever IOOg/SmI Oral suspension / Baby Oral suspension 13 months to 9 years 100mg/SmI Oral suspension 3 months to 12 years Oral suspension. Contains ibuprofen, for children over 3 months (weighing more than Skg) to 12 years. For pain relief. Nurofen for children 100 mg, chewable capsules, soft. For fever and pain relief in children aged 7 to 12 years. Contains Ibuprofen. Atways read the label. Use only as directed M symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. All information presented on these web pages IS not meant to diagnose or prescribe. For further advice please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

1. NHS-UK. How vaccines work. nhs_uk Available at: https://www.nhs_uk/conditions/vaccinations/how-vaccines-work/_ (Accessed: 10th October 2018)

2. Kim, H , Johnstone, J. & Loeb, M. Vaccine herd effect. Scand J. Infect Dis. 43, 683—689 (2011).

3. NHS-UK. 6-in-l vaccine. Available at https://www.nhs_uk/conditions/vaccinations/6-in-1-infant-vaccine/. (Accessed: 10th October 2018)

4. NHS-UK. Vaccine side effects. nhs_uk Available at https://www.nhs_uk/conditions/vaccinations/reporting-side-effects/_ (Accessed: 10th October 2018)

5. NHS-UK. Vaccination tips for parents. nhs_uk Available at: https://www.nhs_uk/conditions/vaccinations/vaccination-appointment-tips-for-parents/ (Accessed: 10th October 2018)