Fever Information

FEVER

Almost all children at some time will have fever in the range of 101ºF – 105ºF. Parents may have unfounded fears regarding fever in their children. Because fevers are rarely harmful, and fever treatment may not be necessary, we present the following information and guidelines.

Fever is a temperature above the normal range. A rectal temperature (which is most accurate) above 100.4ºF or an oral temperature above 100ºF are both fevers. A temperature taken under the arm, or in the ear, can be unreliable, but if above 99ºF may indicate fever. Fever is the body’s NORMAL response to infection. Most fevers are due to viral illness, last two to three days, and get better without antibiotics. In general, the height of the fever does NOT relate to the seriousness of the illness. With most illnesses the level of fever fluctuates for one to three days. HOW YOUR SICK CHILD LOOKS AND ACTS IS WHAT COUNTS.

Some children (about four percent of all children) may have a febrile convulsion or fever seizure. This usually happens when a fever is rising rapidly at the beginning of an illness. Short febrile seizures do NOT cause brain damage or epilepsy, although they may be quite frightening to parents.

TREATING FEVER

Your child may be comfortable with extra fluids, less clothing, and reduced activity. Extra fluids, especially cold ones, should be encouraged. Clothing should be kept to a minimum. If your child is cold or shivering, give him/her a light blanket. Discourage vigorous activity. Normal play is fine.

Fever medication may be used if the child is older than two months, and the fever is above 102ºF and associated with discomfort, fast breathing or feeling very hot. Give the correct dose of acetaminophen every four to six hours. This will usually reduce the fever, but will probably not bring it to normal.

If the fever is above 104ºF on half hour after the medication has been given, sponge your child for 10-20 minutes with lukewarm water. Never add alcohol or ice to the water. DO NOT leave your child alone in the tub.

See the following table for the correct dosage of medication. We do not recommend the use of aspirin for children.

children fever information

Keep all medication out of the reach of children.

CALL IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • Your child is less than 2 months of age
  • Fever is over 105ºF
  • Your child is crying inconsolably for a long time
  • Your child is difficult to waken
  • Your child is confused or delirious
  • Your child has a seizure
  • Your child has a stiff neck
  • Your child has purple spots on the skin
  • Your child is having a hard time breathing and does not feel better after the nose is cleared
  • Your child is acting sick
  • Your child has a known underlying risk factor for serious infection

CALL DURING OFFICE HOURS IF:

  • Your child is 2-4 months old (unless fever is due to immunizations)
  • Fever is between 104ºF and 105ºF, especially if your child is under 2 years old
  • Burning or pain occurs with urination
  • Fever has been present for greater than 72 hours
  • Fever has been present for greater than 24 hours without an obvious cause, e.g., cold
  • Your child has a history of febrile seizures
  • You have other questions




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PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
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