Produced with the National Collaborating Centre for Women and Children's Health, the guidance provides a practical tool to assess the symptoms of a child with fever and advises healthcare professionals on how to care for these children within the appropriate setting.
The guideline recommends that:
- Children with feverish illness should be assessed for the presence or absence of symptoms and signs that can be used to predict the risk of serious illness using the traffic light system tool.
- Children with any 'red' features (those who are at high risk) should be urgently assessed by a healthcare professional in a face-to-face setting.
- Parental perception of a fever should be considered valid and taken seriously by healthcare professionals.
- If symptoms suggest the child is not at a high risk and can be cared for at home, the parent or carer should be provided with a safety net of information which can include, verbal and/or written information on warning symptoms, direct access to other out-of-hours healthcare professionals and follow up appointments if required.
Andrew Dillon, executive lead for the guideline and chief executive, NICE said: 'This is an extremely important guideline for thousands of children and their parents or carers. Infections remain the leading cause of death in children under the age of five years with fever being one of the main symptoms. This guideline will help healthcare professionals to pick up the high-risk symptoms that indicate a child needs urgent medical attention - this will save children's lives.'
The guidance can be downloaded from the NICE website