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What causes fever?

The most common cause of a fever in a child is a viral infection. A bacterial infection is a much less common cause.

The body’s natural reaction to infection with a virus or bacteria is to raise the temperature inside the body (the core temperature). This helps to kill the infection.

Other causes of high body temperature include:

  • immunisations - these usually cause only mild fever
  • wrapping a baby in too many warm layers of clothing, or bedding

Will a fever harm my child?

Fever is a normal way for a child to fight an infection. Being hot may make your child feel unhappy or uncomfortable, but the high temperature is very unlikely to cause any long-term problems.

Some children have convulsions when they have fevers. These may look very worrying, but even these febrile convulsions are very unlikely to cause long-term problems.


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