Top tips for parents of children with pain and fever
Pain and fever are a normal part of childhood illness,1 however, treating symptoms of pain and fever in young and infant children can still be a distressing process for parents. Understanding the common causes, symptoms and treatment for pain and fever can make all the difference for parents caring for young children.
Causes of pain and fever in children1
- Teething, beginning at around 4 to 6 months, can cause sore gums for children, especially at night.
- Coughs, colds and sore throats are a frequent cause of pain, with children receiving an average of 5-10 colds per year.
- Earache, commonly caused by middle ear infection and mostly present in children aged 8 years, is also a cause of pain and fever.
- Immunisations may cause fever and soreness where the injection was given.
- Sprains and strains from playing, climbing and running are also a common cause of pain in children.
Signs and symptoms of pain and fever
Fever is the most common complaint presented in paediatrics, with the majority of children suffering from fever being under 3 years old.1 The most obvious sign that a child has a fever is when their temperature is over 37.5°C.2
Signs of pain in children include:2
- facial changes or pulling a face;
- changes in their sleeping or eating patterns;
- becoming quiet and withdrawn;
- pointing, rubbing or pulling at the sore area; and
- refusing to move.
Treatment for pain and fever
Parental distress has been shown to have a huge effect on a child’s ability to deal with their pain.4 If parents are knowledgeable and feel confident that the treatment they are giving their child will be effective, they will be calm and ultimately more comforting to the child.1
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and parents wanting to use medicines to treat young, unwell children with fever are advised to use ibuprofen first1. Ibuprofen has been proven to achieve faster and more prolonged fever relief in the first four hours compared to paracetamol.1
Nurofen for Children relieves many types of children’s and babies pain, including pain caused by fever, and lasts for up to 8 hours.2 Specifically formulated for children from 3 months to 12 years, Nurofen for Children is sugar-free and contains ibuprofen to rapidly tackle the symptoms of pain and fever within 15 minutes.2
Alternative ways of comforting a child in pain include distracting the child from their pain by reading to them or playing music, giving hot or cold packs and massage.2
- Hay, A et al. Paracetamol plus ibuprofen for treatment of fever in children (PITCH): randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2008; 337: a1302.
- NFC Parents Guide. 2011.
- Martino, J. Fever in Children. Palo Alto Medical Clinic California: http://physicianeducation.org.
- Clinch, J et al. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. Aug 2007, 2; 1(1):7.