Top of the pageCheck Your Symptoms

Topic Overview

Fever is the body’s
normal and healthy reaction to infection and other illnesses, both minor and
serious. Fevers help the body fight infection. Fever is a symptom, not a
disease. In most cases, fever means your child has a minor illness. Often you
must look at your child’s other symptoms to determine how serious the illness
is. Although it may be scary when your child’s temperature goes up, fever is
not harmful.

Normal body temperature

The average normal body
temperature is about
98.6°F (37°C). It usually rises
during the day from a low of
97.4°F (36.3°C) in the morning
to a high of 99.6°F (37.6°C) in the late afternoon. Each child has a normal temperature
range that may be different from another child’s. Mild increases to
100.4°F (38°C) can be caused by exercising,
wearing too many clothes, taking a hot bath, or being outside in hot
weather.

Fever

Temperature varies depending on how you take it. The most common ways to measure it are:

  • Under the tongue.
  • In the armpit.
  • In the rectum.
  • In the ear.

You can also use:

  • Forehead thermometers.
  • Pacifier thermometers.

Some methods may not be as reliable or accurate as others. For information about taking
accurate temperatures, see the topic
Body Temperature.

If you think your child
has a fever but you are not able to measure his or her temperature, it is
important to look for other symptoms of illness.

Children tend to
run higher fevers than adults. The degree of fever may not indicate how serious
your child’s illness is. With a minor illness, such as a cold, a child may have
a temperature of 104°F (40°C), while a very serious infection may not
cause a fever or may cause only a mild fever. With many illnesses, a fever temperature can go up and down very quickly and often, so be sure to look for other
symptoms along with the fever.

Babies with a fever often have an infection caused by a virus, such as a cold or the flu. Infections caused by bacteria, such as a urinary infection or bacterial pneumonia, also can cause a fever. Babies younger than 3 months should be seen by a doctor anytime they have a fever because they can get extremely sick quickly.

A fever in a healthy child is
usually not dangerous, especially if the child does not have other symptoms and
the fever goes away in 3 to 4 days. Most children who have a fever will be
fussy and play less and may not eat as much as usual.

High fevers
may make your child uncomfortable, but they rarely cause serious problems.
There is no medical evidence that fevers from infection cause brain damage. The
body limits a fever caused by infection from rising above
106°F (41.1°C). But outside heat-such as from
being in a car that is parked in the sun-can cause body temperature to rise
above 107°F (41.7°C), and brain damage can
occur.

Childhood immunizations can reduce the risk for
fever-related illnesses, such as
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infection.
Although no vaccine is 100% effective, most routine childhood immunizations are
effective for 85% to 95% of the children who receive them. For more
information, see the topic
Immunizations.

Causes of fever

It is not unusual for a
preschool-aged child to have 7 to 10 viral infections in a year. Each new viral
infection may cause a fever. It may seem that a fever is ongoing, but if 48
hours pass between fevers, then the new fever is most likely from a new
illness.

Common causes of fever include:

Teething may cause a mild increase in your child’s temperature. But if the temperature is higher
than 100.4°F (38°C), look for symptoms that may be related to an infection or illness.

A fever that increases quickly may lead to a
fever seizure in some children. After a fever has
reached a high temperature, the risk of a seizure is less. Fever seizures can
be frightening to see, but they usually do not cause other problems, such as
brain damage,
intellectual disability, or learning problems. If your
child has a high fever and a seizure, see the topic
Fever Seizures.

Low body temperature

An abnormally low body temperature (hypothermia) can be serious, even life-threatening. Low body temperature may occur from cold exposure, shock, alcohol or drug use, or certain metabolic disorders, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. A low body temperature may also be present with an infection, particularly in newborns, older adults, or people who are frail. An overwhelming infection, such as sepsis, may also cause an abnormally low body temperature.

Check your
child’s symptoms
to decide if and when your child should see a doctor.

Check Your Symptoms

Do you think your child may have a fever or chills?
Yes
Fever or chills
No
Fever or chills
How old are you?
Less than 3 months
Less than 3 months
3 months to 3 years
3 months to 3 years
4 to 6 years
4 to 6 years
7 to 11 years
7 to 11 years
12 years or older
12 years or older
Are you male or female?
Male
Male
Female
Female
Has your child had a fever seizure?
Fever seizures are uncontrolled muscle spasms that can happen when a child’s body temperature goes up quickly.
Yes
Fever seizure
No
Fever seizure
Has your child had surgery in the past 2 weeks?
Yes
Surgery within past 2 weeks
No
Surgery within past 2 weeks
Does your child have symptoms of shock?
Yes
Signs of shock
No
Signs of shock
Does your child have symptoms of heatstroke?
Yes
Heatstroke symptoms
No
Heatstroke symptoms
Does your baby seem sick?
A sick baby probably will not be acting normally. For example, the baby may be much fussier than usual or not want to eat.
Yes
Baby seems sick
No
Baby seems sick
How sick do you think your baby is?
Extremely sick
Baby is very sick (limp and not responsive)
Sick
Baby is sick (sleepier than usual, not eating or drinking like usual)
Do you think your baby may be dehydrated?
Yes
May be dehydrated
No
May be dehydrated
Are the symptoms severe, moderate, or mild?
Severe
Severe dehydration
Moderate
Moderate dehydration
Mild
Mild dehydration
Do you think your child may be dehydrated?
It can be harder to tell in a baby or young child than it is in an older child.
Yes
May be dehydrated
No
May be dehydrated
Are the symptoms severe, moderate, or mild?
Severe
Severe dehydration
Moderate
Moderate dehydration
Mild
Mild dehydration
Is your child having trouble drinking enough to replace the fluids he or she has lost?
Little sips of fluid usually are not enough. The child needs to be able to take in and keep down plenty of fluids.
Yes
Unable to drink enough fluids
No
Able to drink enough fluids
Is your baby having trouble breathing?
Sometimes babies may have trouble breathing because of a stuffy nose. If your baby’s nose is stuffy, clearing the nose with a rubber bulb may help.
Yes
Difficulty breathing
No
Difficulty breathing
Would you describe the breathing problem as severe, moderate, or mild?
Severe
Severe difficulty breathing
Moderate
Moderate difficulty breathing
Mild
Mild difficulty breathing
Is your child having trouble breathing (more than a stuffy nose)?
Yes
Difficulty breathing more than stuffy nose
No
Difficulty breathing more than stuffy nose
Yes
Drooling and unable to swallow
No
Drooling and unable to swallow
Would you describe the breathing problem as severe, moderate, or mild?
Severe
Severe difficulty breathing
Moderate
Moderate difficulty breathing
Mild
Mild difficulty breathing
Is your child’s ability to breathe:
Getting worse?
Breathing problems are getting worse
Staying about the same (not better or worse)?
Breathing problems are unchanged
Getting better?
Breathing problems are getting better
Does your child have symptoms of a serious illness?
Yes
Symptoms of serious illness
No
Symptoms of serious illness
Did you take a rectal temperature?
Taking a rectal temperature is the only way to be sure that a baby this age does not have a fever. If you don’t know the rectal temperature, it’s safest to assume the baby has a fever and needs to be seen by a doctor. Any problem that causes a fever at this age could be serious.
Yes
Rectal temperature taken
No
Rectal temperature taken
Is it 100.4°F (38°C) or higher?
Yes
Temperature at least 100.4°F (38°C)
No
Temperature at least 100.4°F (38°C)
Have tiny red or purple spots or bruises appeared suddenly?
Yes
Sudden appearance of red or purple spots or bruising
No
Sudden appearance of red or purple spots or bruising
Does your child seem to be in pain?
Yes
Appears to be in pain
No
Appears to be in pain
How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?
5 to 10: Moderate to severe pain
Moderate to severe pain
1 to 4: Mild pain
Mild pain
Does your child have shaking chills or very heavy sweating?
Shaking chills are a severe, intense form of shivering. Heavy sweating means that sweat is pouring off the child or soaking through his or her clothes.
Yes
Shaking chills or heavy sweating
No
Shaking chills or heavy sweating
Does your child have a health problem or take medicine that weakens his or her immune system?
Yes
Disease or medicine that causes immune system problems
No
Disease or medicine that causes immune system problems
Besides fever, do you have other symptoms of a more serious infection?
Yes
Symptoms of more serious infection
No
Symptoms of more serious infection
Does your child have a rash that looks like a sunburn?
Yes
Sunburn-like rash
No
Sunburn-like rash
Did you take your child’s temperature?
Yes
Temperature taken
No
Temperature taken
How high is the fever? The answer may depend on how you took the temperature.
High: 104°F (40°C) or higher, oral
High fever: 104°F (40°C) or higher, oral
Moderate: 100.4°F (38°C) to 103.9°F (39.9°C), oral
Moderate fever: 100.4°F (38°C) to 103.9°F (39.9°C), oral
Mild: 100.3°F (37.9°C) or lower, oral
Mild fever: 100.3°F (37.9°C) or lower, oral
How high do you think the fever is?
High
Feels fever is high
Moderate
Feels fever is moderate
Mild or low
Feels fever is mild
How long has your child had a fever?
Less than 2 days (48 hours)
Fever for less than 2 days
From 2 days to less than 1 week
Fever for more than 2 days and less than 1 week
1 week or longer
Fever for 1 week or more
Do you think that a medicine or a vaccine may be causing the fever?
Think about whether the fever started soon after you began using a new medicine or a higher dose of a medicine. Or did it start after you got a shot or vaccine?
Yes
Medicine may be causing the fever
No
Medicine may be causing the fever

Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:

  • Your age. Babies and older
    adults tend to get sicker quicker.
  • Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart
    disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care
    sooner.
  • Medicines you take. Certain
    medicines, herbal remedies, and supplements can cause symptoms or make them
    worse.
  • Recent health events, such as surgery
    or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them
    more serious.
  • Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug
    use, sexual history, and travel.

Try Home Treatment

You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.

  • Try home treatment to relieve the
    symptoms.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any
    concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect).
    You may need care sooner.

Babies can quickly get dehydrated when they lose fluids because of problems like
vomiting or fever.

Symptoms of dehydration can range from mild to
severe. For example:

  • The baby may be fussy or cranky (mild dehydration),
    or the baby may be very sleepy and hard to wake up (severe
    dehydration).
  • The baby may have a little less urine than usual
    (mild dehydration), or the baby may not be urinating at all (severe
    dehydration).

You can get dehydrated when
you lose a lot of fluids because of problems like vomiting or fever.

Symptoms of dehydration can range from mild to severe. For
example:

  • You may feel tired and edgy (mild dehydration), or
    you may feel weak, not alert, and not able to think clearly (severe
    dehydration).
  • You may pass less urine than usual (mild
    dehydration), or you may not be passing urine at all (severe
    dehydration).

Severe dehydration means:

  • The baby may be very sleepy and hard to wake
    up.
  • The baby may have a very dry mouth and very dry eyes (no
    tears).
  • The baby may have no wet diapers in 12 or more hours.

Moderate dehydration means:

  • The baby may have no wet diapers in 6 hours.
  • The
    baby may have a dry mouth and dry eyes (fewer tears than usual).

Mild dehydration means:

  • The baby may pass a little less urine than usual.

Symptoms of difficulty breathing can range from mild to severe. For example:

  • You may feel a little out of breath but still be able to talk (mild difficulty breathing), or you may be so out of breath that you cannot talk at all (severe difficulty breathing).
  • It may be getting hard to breathe with activity (mild difficulty breathing), or you may have to work very hard to breathe even when you’re at rest (severe difficulty breathing).

Symptoms of difficulty breathing in a baby or young child can range from mild to severe. For example:

  • The child may be breathing a little faster than usual (mild difficulty breathing), or the child may be having so much trouble that the nostrils are flaring and the belly is moving in and out with every breath (severe difficulty breathing).
  • The child may seem a little out of breath but is still able to eat or talk (mild difficulty breathing), or the child may be breathing so hard that he or she cannot eat or talk (severe difficulty breathing).

Sudden drooling and trouble swallowing can be signs of a
serious problem called epiglottitis. This problem can
happen at any age.

The epiglottis is a flap of tissue at the back
of the throat that you can’t see when you look in the mouth. When you swallow, it closes to keep food and fluids out of the
tube (trachea) that leads to the lungs. If the epiglottis becomes inflamed or
infected, it can swell and quickly block the airway. This makes it very hard to
breathe.

The symptoms start suddenly. A person with epiglottitis
is likely to seem very sick, have a fever, drool, and have trouble breathing,
swallowing, and making sounds. In the case of a child, you may notice the child
trying to sit up and lean forward with his or her jaw forward, because it’s
easier to breathe in this position.

Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can trigger
an allergic reaction and cause a fever. A few examples are:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Barbiturates, such as
    phenobarbital.
  • Aspirin, if you take too much.

Fever can be a symptom of almost any type of infection.
Symptoms of a more serious infection may include the
following:

  • Skin infection: Pain,
    redness, or pus
  • Joint infection: Severe
    pain, redness, or warmth in or around a joint
  • Bladder infection: Burning when you urinate, and a frequent
    need to urinate without being able to pass much urine
  • Kidney infection: Pain in the flank, which is either side of
    the back just below the rib cage
  • Abdominal infection: Belly pain

Symptoms of heatstroke may
include:

  • Feeling or acting very confused, restless, or
    anxious.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Sweating heavily, or not
    sweating at all (sweating may have stopped).
  • Skin that is red,
    hot, and dry, even in the armpits.
  • Passing
    out.
  • Seizure.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Heatstroke occurs when the body can’t control its own
temperature and body temperature continues to rise.

Severe dehydration means:

  • The child’s mouth and eyes may be extremely dry.
  • The child may pass little or no urine for 12 or more
    hours.
  • The child may not seem alert or able to think clearly.
  • The child may be too weak or dizzy to stand.
  • The
    child may pass out.

Moderate dehydration means:

  • The child may be a lot more thirsty than
    usual.
  • The child’s mouth and eyes may be drier than
    usual.
  • The child may pass little or no urine for 8 or more hours.
  • The child may feel dizzy when he or she stands or sits up.

Mild dehydration means:

  • The child may be more thirsty than
    usual.
  • The child may pass less urine than usual.

Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in children are:

  • Diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, sickle
    cell disease, and congenital heart disease.
  • Steroid medicines,
    which are used to treat a variety of conditions.
  • Medicines taken
    after organ transplant.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for
    cancer.
  • Not having a spleen.

Temperature varies a little depending on how you measure it.
For children up to 11 years old, here are the ranges for high, moderate, and
mild according to how you took the temperature.

Oral (by mouth), ear, or rectal temperature

  • High:
    104°F (40°C) and
    higher
  • Moderate:
    100.4°F (38°C) to
    103.9°F (39.9°C)
  • Mild:
    100.3°F (37.9°C) and
    lower

A forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature.

Armpit (axillary) temperature

  • High: 103°F (39.5°C) and higher
  • Moderate:
    99.4°F (37.4°C) to
    102.9°F (39.4°C)
  • Mild: 99.3°F (37.3°C) and lower

Note: For children under 5 years old, rectal temperatures are
the most accurate.

Sudden tiny red or purple spots or
sudden bruising may be early symptoms of a serious
illness or bleeding problem. There are two types.

Petechiae (say “puh-TEE-kee-eye”):

  • Are tiny, flat red or purple spots in the skin or
    the lining of the mouth.
  • Do not turn white when you press on
    them.
  • Range from the size of a pinpoint to the size of a small pea and do not itch or cause pain.
  • May spread over a large area of the body within a few hours.
  • Are different than tiny, flat red spots or birthmarks that are
    present all the time.

Purpura (say “PURR-pyuh-ruh” or “PURR-puh-ruhâ€):

  • Is sudden, severe bruising that occurs for no clear
    reason.
  • May be in one area or all over.
  • Is different
    than the bruising that happens after you bump into something.

You can use a small rubber bulb (called an aspirating bulb)
to remove mucus from your baby’s nose or mouth when a
cold or allergies make it hard for the baby to eat, sleep, or breathe.

To use the bulb:

  1. Put a few saline nose drops in each side of the
    baby’s nose before you start.
  2. Position the baby with his or her
    head tilted slightly back.
  3. Squeeze the round base of the
    bulb.
  4. Gently insert the tip of the bulb tightly inside the baby’s
    nose.
  5. Release the bulb to remove (suction) mucus from the
    nose.

Don’t do this more than 5 or 6 times a day. Doing it too often
can make the congestion worse and can also cause the lining of the nose to
swell or bleed.

Severe trouble breathing means:

  • The child cannot eat or talk because he or she is
    breathing so hard.
  • The child’s nostrils are flaring and the belly
    is moving in and out with every breath.
  • The child seems to be
    tiring out.
  • The child seems very sleepy or confused.

Moderate trouble breathing means:

  • The child is breathing a lot faster than
    usual.
  • The child has to take breaks from eating or talking to
    breathe.
  • The nostrils flare or the belly moves in and out at times
    when the child breathes.

Mild trouble breathing means:

  • The child is breathing a little faster than usual.
  • The child seems a little out of breath but can still eat or talk.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that may occur quickly
after a sudden illness or injury.

Symptoms of shock in a child may include:

  • Passing out (losing consciousness).
  • Being very sleepy or hard
    to wake up.
  • Not responding when being touched or talked to.
  • Breathing much faster than usual.
  • Acting confused.
    The child may not know where he or she is.

If you’re not sure if a child’s fever is high, moderate, or
mild, think about these issues:

With a high fever:

  • The child feels very hot.
  • It is likely
    one of the highest fevers the child has ever had.

With a moderate fever:

  • The child feels warm or hot.
  • You are
    sure the child has a fever.

With a mild fever:

  • The child may feel a little warm.
  • You
    think the child might have a fever, but you’re not sure.

A baby that is extremely sick:

  • May be limp and floppy like a rag
    doll.
  • May not respond at all to being held, touched, or talked
    to.
  • May be hard to wake up.

A baby that is sick (but not extremely
sick):

  • May be sleepier than usual.
  • May not eat
    or drink as much as usual.

Pain in children under 3 years

It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The
    pain is so bad that the baby cannot sleep, cannot get comfortable, and cries
    constantly no matter what you do. The baby may kick, make fists, or
    grimace.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The baby is
    very fussy, clings to you a lot, and may have trouble sleeping but responds
    when you try to comfort him or her.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The baby is a little fussy and clings to you a little but responds
    when you try to comfort him or her.

Pain in children 3 years and older

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain
    is so bad that the child can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep,
    and can’t do anything else except focus on the pain. No one can tolerate severe
    pain for more than a few hours.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt the child’s normal activities and
    sleep, but the child can tolerate it for hours or days.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The child notices and may complain of the pain,
    but it is not bad enough to disrupt his or her sleep or activities.

Symptoms of serious illness in a baby
may include the following:

  • The baby is limp and floppy like a rag doll.
  • The baby doesn’t respond at all to being held, touched, or talked
    to.
  • The baby is hard to wake up.

Symptoms of serious illness may
include:

  • A severe headache.
  • A stiff
    neck.
  • Mental changes, such as feeling confused or much less
    alert.
  • Extreme fatigue (to the point where it’s hard for you to
    function).
  • Shaking chills.

Seek Care Now

Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.

  • Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and
    arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have
    one, seek care in the next hour.
  • You do not need to call an
    ambulance unless:

    • You cannot travel safely either by driving
      yourself or by having someone else drive you.
    • You are in an area
      where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need
emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Seek Care Today

Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.

  • Call your doctor today to discuss the symptoms
    and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t
    have one, seek care today.
  • If it is evening, watch the symptoms and
    seek care in the morning.
  • If the symptoms get worse, seek care
    sooner.

Make an Appointment

Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
care.

  • Make an appointment to see your doctor in the
    next 1 to 2 weeks.
  • If appropriate, try home treatment while you
    are waiting for the appointment.
  • If symptoms get worse or you have
    any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.
Fever Seizures
Fever or Chills, Age 12 and Older
Postoperative Problems

Home Treatment

It can be hard to know whether you
should call your doctor when your child has a
fever, especially during the cold and flu season. The
degree of the fever may not be related to the seriousness of the illness. The
way your child looks and acts is a better guide than the thermometer. Most
children will be less active when they have a fever.

If your child
is comfortable and alert, is eating well, is drinking enough fluids, is urinating normal
amounts, and seems to be improving, home treatment without medicine is all that
is needed for a fever. Dress your child
lightly, and do not wrap him or her in blankets. Dressing lightly will help
your child’s body cool down.

Try these home treatment measures to make sure your child is drinking enough fluids and does not get dehydrated while he or she has a fever.

Newborns and babies younger than 1 year of age

Don’t
wait until
you see signs of dehydration in your baby. These signs include your baby being thirstier than usual and having less urine than usual.

  • If you breastfeed your baby, nurse him or her
    more often. Offer each breast to your baby for 1 to 2 minutes every 10 minutes.
  • If you use a bottle to feed your baby, increase the number of feedings to make up for lost fluids. The amount of extra fluid your baby needs depends on your baby’s age and size. For example, a newborn may need as little as 1 fl oz (30 mL) at each extra feeding, while a 12-month-old baby may need as much as 3 fl oz (90 mL) at each extra feeding.
  • Ask your doctor if you need to use an
    oral rehydration solution (ORS) if your baby still isn’t getting enough fluids from formula or the breast. The
    amount of ORS your baby needs depends on your baby’s age and size. You can give the ORS in a dropper, spoon, or
    bottle.
  • If your baby has started eating cereal, you may replace
    lost fluids with cereal. You also may feed your baby strained bananas and
    mashed potatoes if your child has had these foods before.

Children ages 1 through 11

  • Make sure your child is drinking often.
    Frequent, small amounts work best.
  • Allow your child to drink as much fluid as he or she wants.
    Encourage your child to
    drink extra fluids or suck on flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles. Note: Do not give your child fruit juice or soda pop. Fruit juice and soda pop contain too much sugar and not enough of the essential minerals (electrolytes) that are being lost. Diet soda pop lacks calories that your child needs.
  • Cereal mixed with milk or water may also be
    used to replace lost fluids.
  • If your child still is not getting enough fluids, you can try an oral rehydration solution (ORS).

Keep your child comfortable

Lowering your child’s
temperature is important when the fever is causing discomfort. If your child is
uncomfortable:

Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your child’s fever or pain:

Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow
these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all labels on
    the medicine bottle and box.
  • Give, but do not exceed, the maximum
    recommended doses.
  • Do not give your child a medicine if he or she
    has had an
    allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless directed to do so
    by your child’s doctor.
  • Do not give naproxen (such as Aleve) to children younger than age 12 unless your child’s
    doctor tells you to.
  • Try giving your child a
    sponge bath with lukewarm water. Do not use cold water, ice, or rubbing alcohol.
  • Encourage quiet
    activities.
  • Watch for
    signs of dehydration. These include your child being thirstier than usual and having darker urine than usual.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your child’s doctor if any of the following occur during home
treatment:

  • Level of consciousness
    changes.
  • Your child has
    signs of dehydration and is not able to drink
    enough to replace lost fluids. Signs of dehydration include being thirstier than usual and having darker urine than usual.
  • Other symptoms develop, such as pain in one area of the body,
    shortness of breath, or urinary symptoms.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

Prevention

The best way to prevent fevers is to reduce
your child’s exposure to infectious diseases.
Hand-washing is the single most important prevention
measure for people of all ages.

Childhood immunizations can reduce the risk for
fever-related illnesses, such as
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infection.
Although no vaccine is 100% effective, most routine childhood immunizations are
effective for 85% to 95% of the children who receive them. For more
information, see the topic
Immunizations.

Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your
child’s doctor diagnose and treat your child’s condition by providing the
following information:

  • The history of the fever, including:
    • When did the fever start? Did it come on
      suddenly or increase over several hours?
    • Are you able to measure
      your child’s temperature? How high is the fever?
    • Does the child
      have any other symptoms?
  • Does your child have frequent fevers?
    • How often does your child get a
      fever?
    • How long does the fever usually last?
  • Has your child had any other health problems during
    the past 3 months?
  • Has your child been eating, drinking, and
    playing normally?
  • Has anyone else in your family been
    ill?
  • Is your child in day care? If so, have any other children at
    the facility been ill?
  • Has your child recently traveled outside the
    country?
  • Has your child recently had close contact with immigrants
    or nonnative people?
  • Has your child had any animal or insect bites
    (including ticks) in the past 6 weeks?
  • Has your child had an immunization (vaccine) shot recently?
  • Does your child have any
    health risks?

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Centigrade to Fahrenheit temperature conversions (2011). In MJ Hockenberry, D Wilson, eds., Wong’s Nursing Care of Infants and Children, 9th ed., (inside back cover). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
John Pope, MD – Pediatrics
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O’Connor, MD – Emergency Medicine
David Messenger, MD

Current as ofMay 25, 2017