Fevers in Kids: When to Worry and How to Treat
Fevers happen to everyone. A fever is a sign that there is another problem within the body. While a fever is usually a sign of an infection, there are other causes as well. For example, babies can run fevers by being overdressed, which raises their body temperatures. Fevers can also happen as a reaction to immunization. So, when should you worry about a fever? Find out here.
Treatment for fevers isn’t always necessary. Pediatricians recommend treatment based on the age of the child and any other factors that are affecting them. For example, if a fever is preventing a child from properly hydrating or they are uncomfortable, treatment may be recommended. As the temperature in the body rises and falls, chills and sweating may occur. This is the body’s way of regulating temperature and should be expected.
How to Treat Fevers in Children
Depending on the age of the child, treatment can vary. Except for infant’s under three months of age, fevers that are under 102 F typically do not require treatment. Please see the table below for details on how best to help your child in the event they have a fever.
|Age of Child||How to Treat|
|Under 3 months of age||If your child has a rectal temperature that is 100.4 F or higher, contact their pediatrician for an appointment or go to the emergency department immediately.|
|3 months to 3 years of age||Contact your child’s pediatrician if they have a fever of 102.2 F or higher.|
|Over age 3||Parents of children over age three who have a fever should consider the child’s behavior and activity level should be considered. If the child is alert, eating and drinking, wants to play and/or has a normal skin color, there is probably not a serious illness. If the child has a fever over 102.2 F and is lethargic and not wanting to drink, contact their pediatrician.|
The best way to check a child for a fever varies with age. The most reliable method requires using a rectal thermometer, but this may not be possible or appropriate depending on the child’s age. Detailed information on the different methods and tools for taking a temperature can be found in our article here.
When to Treat Fevers with Medication
Just because a child has a fever doesn’t mean they need medicine. Medication, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, may be given to a child over three months of age if they are uncomfortable or fussy. Follow the package dosing instructions for the age and weight of your child before giving any medication. Avoid using a table- or teaspoon for dosing as they increase the risk of overdose. Never give a child aspirin unless you are instructed to by their pediatrician, because of their risk of developing Reye syndrome. Your child’s pediatrician is a trusted resource for proper dosing instructions. When in doubt, give them a call.
The team at Rainbow Pediatrics is here to keep your family healthy. If you have any questions about how to accurately check your child’s temperature or are concerned about your child’s fever, give our office a call.