How to identify fever in children
It’s late at night and your child is crying. You check on him and feel his forehead. He’s burning up. What now? As Plano pediatricians and parents ourselves, we’re familiar with the anxiety that fever in children can provoke. Fortunately, most fevers indicate that your child’s immune system is functioning as it should, to identify and combat viral or bacterial invaders inside the body.
Even when healthy, your child’s temperature is always fluctuating slightly, though it will normally be within a degree above or below 98.6°F. A temperature of 100.5°F or above is considered a fever. For children under three, doctors recommend using a digital thermometer to measure body temperature rectally. The body temperature of older children can be measured by digital thermometers that are used in the ear, against the forehead or in the mouth.
Treating fever in children
Fevers under 105°F don’t cause lasting damage, though they can be very uncomfortable. You can offer your child some relief at home by:
- Sponging the skin with tepid water
- Dressing your child in lighter clothes
- Turning on a fan in your child’s room
- Offering plenty of fluids to drink
- Making sure that your child gets plenty of rest
- Giving age-and-weight-recommended doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen
If your child is younger than two, contact our Plano pediatricians before giving any medication.
When to call the doctor
You should call our office if your infant under three months old has a fever, or if your older child’s fever exceeds 104°F. Fevers that last longer than 24 hours in children under two and those lasting more than 36 hours in older children should also be reported to us. Let us know if your child has other severe symptoms along with their fever.
Young children sometimes experience seizures when they have a fever. These febrile seizures can be very frightening to parents, but usually don’t indicate serious health problems or cause harm. If your child experiences a seizure during a fever, give us a call.
Some fevers are the result of exposure to drugs or excessive heat, rather than infection. Fevers under these circumstances are medical emergencies. If you suspect that your feverish child may have taken drugs or have been exposed to excessive heat, contact our Plano pediatricians immediately.
To have your questions about fever in children answered, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.