It’s a moment most parents will recognise.
It’s the wee small hours. The chemist is closed. Your other half is snoring soundly. And your baby is running a horrible fever, and is horrified by the very notion of taking the Calpol you’re offering hopefully, on the end of a ridiculously tiny plastic spoon.
Should you panic?
Absolutely not, says Dr Ranj, who we suspect is officially the World’s Most Cheerful Doctor. “A temperature is very, very rarely harmful to a baby or small child, and often parents are worried because they’re relying on old advice, or they simply don’t know how to read temperatures in children of different ages.”
Babies and children will have many infectious illnesses and a temperature indicates their body is fighting the infection, Ranj adds. “If you know why your child has a temperature, and they’re otherwise comfortable, they’re unlikely to need any treatment,” he says.
Ranj’s Guidelines for Parents:
- If your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature over 38 degrees you should see or speak to a healthcare professional
- If your baby is 3-6 months old and has a temperature over 39 degrees, you should see or speak to a healthcare professional
- If your child is 6 months or older and has a temperature over 39 degrees AND they are displaying other symptoms (vomiting, rash, lethargy) OR there is no obvious reason for the temperature, you should see or speak to a healthcare professional
Having spent many years working in busy London hospitals and emergency departments, Ranj is very familiar with worried parents, and perhaps his single best piece of advice is: STOP GOOGLING.
There are millions of websites offering healthcare information, but unless you know a site is written by experienced professionals and the content is peer-reviewed, you should be suspicious, says Ranj. That’s especially true when reading websites created outside the UK, where treatment protocols and conditions can differ enormously from what is best practice in the UK. “The Internet means we see a lot more people who are better informed, but even more who are misinformed,” says Ranj. “If you have a health question, then online your bible should be the NHS Choices website. It’s written by experts, the content is peer-reviewed, and it’s extremely trustworthy.”
That’s not to say Dr Ranj doesn’t do more than his share of promoting health-related charities and causes online, using his Twitter and Instagram accounts to raise awareness of important and serious issues including baby loss, bullying and depression. Ranj is also a staunch defender of the NHS and happy to engage in debate with his followers on government policies and stories that make the headlines, from Baby P to the Asha King story. “Being in the job I’m in, and working in the media, is a great privilege, and if I can use that platform to talk about an important topic, then I’m absolutely going to, although 140 characters is never enough,” he says.
Of course, though, social media isn’t just about important social messages.
It’s also about selfies.
And we really can’t go an entire interview without mentioning that Dr Ranj has actually coined his own hashtag, #DocStyle, to celebrate his sartorial triumphs.
As for the Instagram photos, aren’t some of them borderline #NSFW?
Ranj giggles wickedly. “Absolutely! But I’m having a great time, I don’t mind playing the game, and you have to get people’s attention somehow!”
For a children’s TV presenter, it turns out that Dr Ranj has a shockingly naughty sense of humour – and he admits that’s probably why he gets along so brilliantly with parent bloggers – as a two-time host of the MAD Blog Awards, he’s already looking forward to causing more mayhem for bloggers given the opportunity.
Dr Ranj freely admits that he loves meeting parent bloggers, and working on blogger campaigns, such as the campaign with Braun to help raise awareness of fever among parents.
“Parent bloggers are such an inspirational bunch of people doing brilliant things. What they bring to the table is incredible, especially in terms of campaigns and raising awareness and funds,” he says. “At the same time, I have so much fun at the MADS, and I love that the Mummy (and Daddy) bloggers are totally up for it. They are just the most fantastic, fun bunch of people.”
For more information and advice on children’s temperatures and fever, and information on Braun’s range of high-tech thermometers, visit the Braun website.