01 Apr Fever in children
Every child will eventually experience a fever, no matter how careful you are.
When should you not worry about your child’s fever?
Fevers of less than five days if your child’s behavior is relatively normal. You don’t need to be concerned if your child continues to be playful and is eating and drinking normally. (He or she may seem more tired than usual).
Temperatures of up to 102.5 F if your child is 3 months to 3 years of age, or up to 103 F if your child is older. These temperatures can be common, but not necessarily worrisome.
Low-grade fevers if your infant or child was recently immunized. These can be normal if they last less than 48 hours.
When to call your doctor
Now for the important question: When should you be worried about a fever? Call a doctor when:
- complaining of a stiff neck or light hurting their eyes;
- vomiting and refusing to drink much;
- a rash;
- more sleepy than usual;
- problems with breathing;
- if your child is in pain.
- Your child was recently immunized and has a temperature above 102º F or a fever for more than 48 hours.
- Your child’s fever is higher than 104 F (> 40 C).
- An infant younger than 3 months of age develops a fever. Fevers may be your infant’s only response to a serious illness.
- Your child’s fever lasts more than five days. We may need to investigate further.
- Your child is lazy, is difficult to arouse, or is not taking in enough liquids. Babies who are not wetting at least four diapers per day and older children who are not urinating every eight to 12 hours may become dangerously dehydrated.
Since fever is a signal from the body that something is wrong, pay close attention to your child’s other symptoms. If he has a runny nose and a low-grade fever (under 101?F), it usually means he’s got a common cold, while vomiting and diarrhea probably point to a stomach virus. In both cases, the fever tends to come on gradually and to disappear within a few days. But seasonal and H1N1 flu symptoms often strike very suddenly. “Flu hits your child like a ton of bricks. “One day he’s fine, and then boom, the next he can’t get out of bed.” For kids considered to be at higher risk (those under age 5 or with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes treatment may be needed, so your doctor might have you in for a flu test.
Don’t Confuse Fever with Heatstroke
A rare but serious problem that is easily confused with fever is heat-related illness, or heatstroke. This is not caused by infection or internal conditions, but by surrounding heat. It can occur when a child is in a very hot place—for example, a hot beach in midsummer or an overheated closed car on a summer day. Leaving children unattended in closed cars is the cause of several deaths a year; never leave an infant or child unattended in a closed car, even for a few minutes.
Heatstroke also can occur if a baby is overdressed in hot, humid weather. Under these circumstances, the body temperature can rise to dangerous levels (above 105 degrees Fahrenheit [40.5 degrees Celsius]), which must be reduced quickly by cool-water sponging, fanning, and removal to a cool place. After the child has been cooled, he or she should be taken immediately to a pediatrician or emergency room. Heatstroke is an emergency condition.
The information contained on this Website should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your health care provider. There may be variations in treatment that your health care provider may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.