A fever is a temperature of 101° degrees or greater taken oral, rectal or axillary route. Fever is often an indication of an impending illness. Fever in children is not an emergency. Fever in children is not an emergency. I know I repeated myself, because it is the most common reason people call day or night. Relax and read on.
Most fever is good fever (<103°) and helps the body fight infection. You don’t have to treat it with fever lowering medicines. I believe that your child should feel comfortable and you can use Tylenol™ or other fever lowering medication if you wish.
Take your child’s temperature if you suspect a fever because it confirms your suspicion and assists me in diagnosing and recommending treatment over the phone. Try to take your child’s temperature before calling my office if you suspect a fever or have questions about an illness.
Call right away if:
1. You have an infant 6 weeks old or less.
or 2. Temperature is 105° or greater 30 minutes to 1 hour after fever lowering medications were given.
or 3. Your child appears very pale and is unaware of the surroundings.
*Remember, most illnesses may begin with some fever, so 24 to 48 hours of fever is common. Don’t be alarmed. Children can tolerate fevers to 105° degrees for hours. If the fever persists past 1 to 2 days or the illness appears much worse, please, call the office.
Last reviewed March 18, 2016
Take off any unnecessary clothing. Give acetaminophen (Tylenol™) or other fever lowering medication, by mouth or if there has been vomiting Fevernol ™ by suppository every 4 hours as necessary. Giving Tylenol™ more frequently or dividing the doses will not help and could be dangerous. Ibuprofen may be given at a dose of about 10 mg per 20 pounds up to a maximum of 400 mg. These anti-inflammatory medications are also good for many injuries. Dosing charts are on this website under medications on the menu bar.
For young children and adolescents whose fevers are not lowered and who are still quite uncomfortable, try a tepid water bath. As the water temperature cools, the body temperature should be lowered. This works well but is not long lasting in its effects. There is little benefit to bathing for mild temperature elevations. You can sponge bath by letting your child sit in a few inches of lukewarm water. Let your child play or relax while you run water over him or her. Check the temperature every thirty minutes or until you are able to lower it a couple of degrees or your child perks up and appears more comfortable. Give your child cool things to drink like soft drinks, water, juices, or Popsicle.
Don’t let your child get chilled. Don’t use ice water or alcohol. A screaming, kicking, or shivering child won’t cool off. Try to get your child to play or sleep. Children, even with mild illnesses, may be irritable, lack energy, sleepy, have a poor appetite, or appear dazed or glassy eyed. I only become alarmed if the child is not aware of the parent.