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Expert Advice, part 2: Managing feverish illness in children and babies

babysteps teddy 200Following on from the first part of her series in managing common childhood illness which started with top tips for managing coughs and colds Katherine Whitby, Founder of Baby Steps, Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor and Mummy of two is back with essential advice for managing temperatures and tummy bugs. Have your note pad at the ready for many handy hints to help you feel prepared and ideas for things to have in the medicine cabinet.


A high temperature is the body’s natural response to try and fight infection and inflammation. Some children will have a high temperature when they are teething or after immunisations.

Taking a temperature

Braun Ear Thermometer, £42.49 from Boots

A normal temperature should be no higher than 37.4C.

A family digital thermometer or a tempanic ear thermometer, are usually the most reliable methods of taking your child’s temperature.  Best of all is to look at your child’s behaviour and appearance as the best indicators.  It can be hard to get an accurate reading on a thermometer sometimes, especially if the child is upset and you are tired or stressed.

What can you do to help?

– A lukewarm bath, tepid sponge and loose cotton layers can help to ease the temperature.

– Medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can also help to relieve symptoms – seek advice if you are unsure of how to use these.

Most importantly is to know why the child has a temperature.  Is there an obvious cause?  If not, you should seek advice.


The second most common childhood illness, commonly known as ‘gastroenteritis’. All babies and some children do occasionally vomit but this will be more than is usual for your child and often alongside diarrhoea, which again will be more frequent stool than usual, looser and offensive smelling.

What to do about eating and drinking?

If you are breast or formula feeding then continue as usual. Plain foods are best such as toast. If your child is on solids then you may find they are no longer interested in these but it is important to keep them hydrated with plenty of water.  Little and often of is best with fluids so they are more likely to keep them down!

What medicines can you give to help?

Dioralyte, £3.75 from Boots

Like coughs and colds there is no magic medicine for a tummy bug, but if you find your child is not able to tolerate their milk, water or food then a rehydration therapy such as ‘Dioraltye’ will replace glucose and electrolytes.

This can be given instead of milk or food for a short period.  If they are unable to tolerate this or refuse to drink in favour of sleep then do seek advice.

Stay tuned for the third instalment: When and where to get help when managing childhood illness

This information is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice given by a doctor or any other health professional.  Baby Steps is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made or actions taken by a user based on this information.

Feel prepared!

Baby Steps offers First Aid courses at home, the perfect way to learn vital skills and tips galore in a relaxed, social way with friends and family.  They also run at handpicked venues in South West London.

For more information visit or contact Katherine on 07796 942771/

About the author: Katherine Whitby is the founder of Baby Steps, which offers relaxed and friendly courses in the comfort of home or at handpicked venues. The team of experienced nurses are passionate about teaching CPR and choking techniques, accident prevention, first aid and managing childhood illnesses. The courses include lots of chances to ask questions and are the perfect opportunity to learn vitals techniques and tips galore in a social way!  Babies are always welcome.


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