If you’re a parent, you know how stressful it can be when your child is sick. And a fever can cause more anxiety, since a rise in temperature is a signal that there’s something wrong.
The good news is that most of the time, a fever doesn’t mean your child has a serious health condition. There are times, however, when it’s a good idea to check in with a medical provider.
At Wasatch Peak Family Practice and Oceans Contours, our board-certified providers offer specialized pediatric care to families in the Layton, Utah, area. Our team understands how concerning a child’s fever can be to parents.
To help you feel more at ease and in control when your child is sick, we’ve put our heads together and created this informative guide about what to do when your child has a fever.
Childhood fevers and when to get medical help
The natural human temperature is usually about 98.6°F. It’s normal for body temperature to fluctuate throughout the day, so if you notice small changes there’s no reason for concern.
When your child has an infection, illness, or another issue, the part of the brain that regulates temperature may temporarily increase it to help fight away the sickness. In this case, they may develop a fever, which is defined as a temperature above 100.4°F.
Rules of thumb for seeking medical help
Generally speaking, most of the time if your child has a temperature that’s under 102°F, it’s not cause for concern, and you can keep them comfortable with at-home treatments and remedies.
There are times, however, when you should seek medical help. Typically physicians consider both your child’s symptoms as well as their temperature when deciding whether the child needs to be seen. Here’s a quick guide for when to call your doctor or go to the emergency room:
- Infants 3 months or younger: Call the doctor or go to the emergency room right away if the temperature is above 100.4°F.
- Children between 3 months and 3 years: Call the doctor for advice if the temperature is over 102.2°F.
- Children over age 3: Call the doctor for advice if the temperature is higher than 104°F.
- Children under age 2: Call the doctor if the fever lasts more than 24 hours.
In addition to a high temperature, there are other times when you should seek medical advice. Call your Wasatch Peak Family Practice and Oceans Contours provider if your child has a temperature of any degree and:
- The fever lasts for more than five days
- The fever does not respond to at-home treatments
- Your child’s behavior changes dramatically
- You child has a seizure (if lasting longer than 5 minutes, call 911)
- Your child recently received an immunization, and the fever lasts for more than 2 days
- You’re uncomfortable and worried about your child’s illness
When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and call your provider. We’re here to help your child feel their best.
Handling childhood fevers at home
Sometimes children with fevers may not exhibit signs of feeling sick. However, a fever means they can probably still infect others and should stay home.
When your child isn’t bothered by their fever, you don’t need to give them any medications unless their temperature exceeds 102°F. Keep an eye on their temperature and their behavior to note any changes.
If your child is acting tired or lethargic, not drinking enough fluids, or in pain, you can give them over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to alleviate their symptoms. Follow the instructions on the package for dosages, and never give aspirin to a child unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Other ways you can help your feverish child is by making sure they’re not overdressed or covered with too many blankets or comforters, giving them a cool compress, keeping the temperature of the environment comfortable, and making sure your child stays hydrated.
Want to learn more about what to do when your child has a fever? Contact the experts at Wasatch Peak Family Practice and Oceans Contours in Layton, Utah. You can schedule an appointment by calling our office at 801-210-9984 or messaging us.