As we dive into spring and allergy season approaches, there’s a possibility your child might develop a fever. Though seeing your child with a fever can be frightening, not all fevers are signs of bigger problems.
Most people are told that the average human body temperature is 98.6°F, but the truth is that a normal temperature actually falls within a range of 97°F to 99°F. Fluctuations in body temperature are natural and not a cause for alarm.
When your child’s immune system is fighting off illness and infection, such as the seasonal allergies that are common in spring, their body temperature can rise. For a child younger than 3 years, a fever is defined as a body temperature above 100.4°F.
Keep in mind that children tend to get higher and more frequent fevers than adults. It’s comforting to remember that many children don’t experience as much discomfort as an adult might with the same high temperature.
The compassionate care team at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, is sympathetic to the stress of caring for an unwell child. Specializing in pediatric care, our team helps diagnose and treat children who are sick, including those suffering from a fever.
Take a moment to learn about how to manage your child’s fever at home and when to know it’s time to go to your pediatrician for medical attention.
Managing your child’s fever at home
Sometimes children get fevers and don’t have other symptoms of infection or illness. However, a fever is still a sign of their immune system fighting off an illness, even if you can’t see other signs of it.
As such, it’s important to keep your child at home when they have a fever to prevent them from spreading the illness to others. You can take these actions to help them feel better:
Fever without discomfort
If your child does not have any discomfort or pain while they have a fever, make sure they drink plenty of fluids but don’t feel obligated to give them medicine. As long as their fever stays below 102°F, it should run its course without needing treatment.
As they rest, periodically monitor their temperature and behavior to ensure they aren’t getting worse or developing new symptoms.
Fever with discomfort or pain
If your child complains of being in pain, doesn’t want to eat or drink, or is acting particularly lethargic, tired, or fussy, they may benefit from over-the-counter medicines to help reduce their fever.
Children should never take aspirin unless their doctor recommends it. Give your child ibuprofen- or acetaminophen-containing medicines. Carefully follow the directions on the package for the correct dosage, or refer to your pediatrician for how much medicine your child needs.
In both cases, you can ensure your child is comfortable by giving them a cold compress, managing your home temperature, and preventing them from overheating with too many blankets or clothes.
Seeing a pediatrician for your child’s fever
If you have a baby 3 months or younger who develops a temperature above 100.4°F, call your provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice immediately or go to the closest emergency room. Other times to call for advice:
- Between 3 months and 3 years: Fever over 102.2°F
- Under 2 years: Fever sticks around for more than 24 hours
- Over age 3: Fever over 104°F
If you are uncomfortable or worried about your sick child’s health, it’s always a good idea to give our office a call. However, there are times when you should reach out as soon as possible, including when your child has these signs that indicate it’s time for medical help:
- A fever not responding to at-home treatments
- Your child has a fever and isn’t drinking enough
- A fever lasting longer than five days
- Your child develops a fever for more than 2 days after an immunization
- Your child’s behavior drastically changes
- Your child has a seizure (If the seizure is longer than 5 minutes, call 911)
If you want to learn more about childhood springtime fevers and when it’s time to seek medical care, the providers at Wasatch Peak Family Practice can help. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call today.