What is a fever, and what do fevers in children mean for your kids?
A fever in children is usually nothing to worry about. Fever treatment isn’t typically necessary unless your child is experiencing extreme discomfort or dehydration.
- A fever is your body’s way of defending itself against viruses and disease. Typically, a fever is merely a symptom of something else.
- In infants less than 6 month, 100.4 or higher (99.4 under the arm or 100.4 rectal/ear/temporal) is indicative of a true fever.
- Fevers in children 6 months or older, 101.4 or higher (100.4 under the arm or 101.4 rectal/ear/temporal) is a fever.
- Fevers by themselves are not dangerous. Fever treatment is usually necessary only to make children more comfortable, which means that if your child has a fever and is acting okay (eating, drinking, behaving normally), you do not have to give them a fever reducer. If, however, your child is uncomfortable, using a medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be appropriate.
- While it is true that fevers themselves are not dangerous, the causes of them can be. It is important to call us to discuss whether further evaluation is needed at this time.
Things to keep in mind about child fever
*NEVER GIVE CHILDREN WITH A FEVER ASPIRIN OR ASPIRIN-CONTAINING PRODUCTS*
- Ibuprofen should not be used in infants less than 6 months of age.
- Refer to our Tylenol & Ibuprofen dosing graph for help dosing your child.
- What parents want to know most is: When do I need to worry, or should my child be seen by a provider for fever treatment?
- Answer : If your child is 2 months old or younger with a fever (100.4 F or higher), they should be seen at an emergency department (pediatric perferred). If they are older than 2 months of age, they should be seen within the next 24 hours with a provider in our office.
- Is your child acting extremely sleepy (at unusual times), or appears dehydrated and distressed? Under these circumstances, it is also advisable to visit a provider for fever treatment.
- If the fever has been present for more than 5 days, even with a previous diagnosis, you should contact our office to discuss a plan of action.
- It is important to keep your febrile child hydrated, as fevers will cause them to lose body water more quickly. Dehydration then causes the temperature to elevate even more. Maintaining adequate fluids is an incredibly important step in avoiding this vicious cycle.
- If a fever reducer is given, we expect to see temperatures come down 2-3 degrees only. The intention is to make the child more comfortable, not necessarily to reach a “normal” temperature again.
- It is always easier to manage fevers in children once we know the cause of them. Call us today to let us help you figure out the source of your child’s fever.
****The information provided here is intended only as a supplement to the advice and information provided by our providers and nurses during direct patient interactions at Health Care for Children. This information should never take the place of an actual physical examination. Call us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your concerns with our nursing staff directly.****
Call (816) 792-1170 to schedule an appointment or speak to a professional about child fever, symptoms and treatment.
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