Management of acute fever in children: Guideline for community healthcare providers and pharmacists

Robin Green, Prakash Jeena, Shane Kotze, Humphrey Lewis, David Webb, Mike Wells


Fever is a normal physiological response to illness that facilitates and accelerates recovery. Although it is often associated with a self-limiting viral infection in children, it may also be a presenting symptom of more serious conditions requiring urgent medical care. Therefore, it is essential to distinguish between a child with fever who is at high risk of serious illness and who requires specific treatment, hospitalisation or specialist care, and those at low risk who can be managed conservatively at home. This guideline aims to assist pharmacists, primary healthcare workers and general practitioners in risk-stratifying children who present with fever, deciding on when to refer, the appropriate use of antipyretic medication and how to advise parents and caregivers. 

Authors' affiliations

Robin Green, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Prakash Jeena, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Shane Kotze, Drs Esterhuysen, Serfontein, Venter & Associates Inc., Emergency Department, Netcare Unitas Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa

Humphrey Lewis, Private Practice, Netcare Unitas Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa

David Webb, Pattacus Medical Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa

Mike Wells, Division of Emergency Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Emergency Department, Netcare Union Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Emergency Medicine, Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

Full Text



acute fever; paediatrics; clinical guideline

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2013;103(12):948-954. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.7207

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-06-27
Date published: 2013-09-03

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