Contributed by Chelsea Wicks, M.D.
Here Chelsea Wicks, MD, discusses the occurrence of fever among children. It can be frightening for a parent to see a thermometer reading above 101 — Dr. Wicks explains when you should be concerned.
So it’s midnight and your 2-year-old who has been fussy all day suddenly wakes up screaming. You go in to console her and realize she’s burning up. She has a temperature of 104.1. She’s never had a temperature above 101. What do you do? Rush to the Emergency Room? Call the on-call pediatrician? Call your mom?
When Should I Worry About My Child With a Fever?
For otherwise healthy children, fever by itself is rarely a cause for immediate concern. There are a few exceptions to this, which I’ll go over in a minute. But overall, you do not need to panic over high fever.
A fever is a sign of something going on in the body and, as mentioned above, is rarely a problem itself. It can be very difficult to know what the cause is right away so here are a few guidelines when caring for a child with a fever.
- Begin by treating the fever with Ibuprofen or acetaminophen (no aspirin) if the child seems uncomfortable. Check the labels or speak with your doctor.
- Push clear fluids to keep your child hydrated.
- You can also place them in a lukewarm, not cold, bath. This can naturally bring the fever down.
There is no magic number to worry about when a child has a fever after two months of age. In my next blog post, I’ll address signs and symptoms parents should look out for. If you have any general questions about fever, please comment on this post. For questions specific to your child’s health, talk to your child’s physician.