What to Do When Your Child Has a Fever

Mother measuring temperature of her sick daughter with thermometer

As a child’s temperature rises, so does a parent’s concern.

But a fever itself isn’t an illness. It’s a signal that your child’s body is fighting an infection or an illness. A fever is a result of your body sending white blood cells and other fighter cells to destroy the infection.

What are the symptoms of fever?

A temperature greater than 100.3 degrees is considered a fever, and could also include:

·         Your child feels warm or hot.

·         Your child isn’t as talkative or active as they normally are.

·         Your child seems less hungry, fussier, and thirstier.

When should a fever be treated?

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Any time your child has a fever that’s making them uncomfortable, it should be treated. It won’t cure the illness but will relieve the discomfort that the fever is causing. Here are some steps you can take to treat a fever:

·         Fewer clothes, not more. Excess clothing traps body heat and can cause your child’s temperature to rise. Dress them in light clothing to increase comfort.

·         Drink plenty of fluids. Fill your child with water, juices, popsicles, sports drinks … anything to keep them hydrated.

·         Try a bath in lukewarm water. Don’t let your child shiver in cold water, which can raise their temperature. And remember, NEVER leave your child unattended in a bathtub.

·         You can use over-the-counter medication, but follow the dosage directions closely, based on your child’s age and size. Checking with your child’s primary care physician for medication suggestions is always a good decision.

When should I call my child’s doctor?

·         Right away if your child is 3 months old or younger and has a fever of 100.3 degrees or higher. Fever in a young baby can be a sign of a dangerous infection.

·         If your child is younger than 2 years old and has a fever of 100.3 degrees or higher that lasts for more than one day.

·         If your child is 2 or older and has a fever of 100.3 degrees or higher that lasts for more than three days.

In most cases of fever, your child can then be cared for at home and will feel better again within two or three days. Their bodies can fight off the viruses without any extra help. Check with your healthcare provider if you’re overly concerned (hey, we’re parents, it’s what we do!) But in many instances, a combination of time, rest, and loving care can be the best remedies. For any of your children’s healthcare needs, the professionals at StarMed Healthcare are always available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. We’re open 365 days a year, with walk-ins welcome. To find a location near you, visit starmed.care/locations/