Fever in children- FAQ’s
Every parent can relate to that feeling of worry and even a hint of panic that come along with symptoms of illness in your child and a raised thermometer reading. Our Board-Certified Pediatricians at Pediatrics Healthcare Associates can help.
Here are a few tips about identifying fever, bringing the fever down, and knowing when to call on your child’s pediatrician for backup.
What is a fever?
The body temperature of more than 100.4 ° F or 38 ° C is fever.
Why does my child get a fever?
Fever is a normal body response to fight against infections. Whenever the body recognizes there is an illness caused by bacteria, virus or other organisms, the body temperature raises to help fight off the infection. So, fever is a good thing for your child. It shows that the body is mounting an immune response to fight the illness.
When should I be worried?
This can depend on the age of your child.
Any temperature of more than 100.4 ° F in a neonate (less than 28 days old) is concerning, and medical attention should be sought immediately. Between 1 and 3 months, it is important to have the patient checked out by a physician when the body temperature rises above 100.4 ° F.
Other symptoms warrant seeking immediate medical attention in a feverish child irrespective of age, including seizures, altered mental status, severe headache with neck stiffness, and difficulty breathing. If the child is currently on chemotherapy, has a compromised immune system, has sickle cell disease, or if the temperature is more than 105 ° F, take your child to a physician at once.
If your child is healthy, behaving his usual self, and does not have any underlying disease or condition, the child can be monitored for symptoms. In the meanwhile, administer a weight-appropriate dosage of Tylenol/Motrin to help reduce the fever.
Please know that it is normal for children to act clingy, become picky eaters, or eat less than normal when they have a fever. It is part of the illness and will improve as they get better. You can be reassured if the child is drinking and is acting more or less like his usual self. The severity of the illness does not correspond with the body temperature. Most viral illnesses can cause temperatures as high as 104 ° F.
How to measure temperature?
It is very important that body temperature should not be estimated and always should be accurately measured with a thermometer. Temperature check by touch or visual appearances such as paleness or flushed cheeks should not be used as a means to assess increased body temperature, as these are not reliable indicators of whether or not fever is present.
There are various types of devices available to measure temperature. Digital thermometers are very easy to read and are very reliable. If the child is less than 3 months, the temperature is best measured rectally. After the child is more than 3 months, the temperature can be measured orally or axillary.
What to do if my child’s temperature is greater than 100.4 ° F?
Administer Tylenol or Motrin at weight-appropriate dosing. Studies have shown alternating Tylenol or Motrin does not provide an additional advantage, so one can safely stick to either one of the drugs.
Let the child eat or drink as per preference. No dietary restrictions are necessary unless advised otherwise. Just ensure that the child stays well hydrated.
Avoid contact with other children if possible.
Make sure the child is comfortable, dressed in light clothing and the room temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.
If there are no symptoms as mentioned earlier that would cause an immediate need for medical treatment, observe for other symptoms other than fever and overall appearance of the child. If any of the above-mentioned symptoms do appear, call our office and we can help you schedule a same day appointment.
Parents, please rest assured that fever can be a good thing while your child’s body is fighting an illness and can often be treated at home with Tylenol/Motrin. However, please keep in mind that the advice provides general guidelines for fever in children.