NICE has published an update to NICE Clinical Guideline (CG) 160 on Fever in under 5s: assessment and initial management.

Feverish illness in young children is a very common reason for a child to present to primary care and the second most common reason for one to be admitted to hospital. It can be difficult to identify the cause of fever but is often due to a self-limiting viral infection. However, it can also be the main feature of serious bacterial infections (e.g. meningitis or pneumonia).

Updates to the recommendations made by CG160 include:

  • a recommendation on referring to NICE Guideline 51 on Sepsis: recognition, diagnosis, and early management as a consideration for children presenting with fever
  • a recommendation highlighting that clinicians should not use response to antipyretic therapy alone as a means to differentiate between serious and non-serious infection
  • a footnote to highlight that some vaccinations have been found to induce fever in children younger than 3 months old.

The advice offered by CG160 includes the following areas:

  • thermometers and the detection of fever
  • clinical assessment of children with fever
  • management by remote assessment
  • management by the non-paediatric practitioner
  • management by the paediatric specialist
  • antipyretic interventions
  • advice for home care.