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Fevers: How high is too high? How to treat your child's fever and when to see their pediatrician.

A fever is any body temperature greater than 100.4° F. Fevers are very common in children, are generally a sign of a healthy immune system trying to fight an infection and are very rarely dangerous for a child. In fact, only temperatures greater than 109° F can cause damage to a person’s body.

Some reasons to take your child to their pediatrician for a fever:

  • Temperature is 105° F or greater.
  • Fever persists for more than 3 to 5 days.
  • Your child has had ill symptoms for several days before the initial onset of their fever. This could be a sign a secondary infection, such as an ear infection, has developed.
  • If your child is two months of age or younger and has a temperature of 100.4° F or greater, they need to immediately be seen by their pediatrician.

Treating your child’s fever:

  • Fevers are very rarely dangerous for your child. They help their bodies fight infection so they do not have to be treated.
  • Keep your child hydrated.
  • Medication may be necessary if your child is uncomfortable from their fever.
  • Over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can be used to treat your child’s fever.
  • Ibuprofen can ONLY be used in children six months and older.
  • Dosing of medications should be done based on your child’s weight.

Some parents are concerned about their child experiencing febrile seizures when they have a fever:

  • Febrile seizures occur in approximately 3 to 4 out of every 100 children between 6 months and 5 years of age.
  • Generally, they occur at the very onset of fever, or within the first few hours of the fever.
  • If your child has a febrile seizure, place them away from any hard or sharp objects and turn their head to the side. Call your child’s pediatrician, or take them to be seen by a physician. However, if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, call 911.
  • Febrile seizures can be very scary to witness, but simple febrile seizures will not cause damage to your child.
  • Children who have one febrile seizure have a 30 to 50 percent chance of having a second febrile seizure. However, their risk of developing epilepsy still remains low.

To learn more about pediatric fevers and treatment, click here

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