Your child awoke in the middle of the night complaining that they didn’t feel well. Your first reaction is to put your hand up to their forehead to see if they have a fever. Of course, if their head feels warm the next step is to take their temperature to see if they are actually running a fever. While most children will experience a fever at some point, it’s important to know when you can treat the problem at home and when you need to visit a pediatrician immediately.
Most of the time a fever isn’t anything to worry about, especially if your child is otherwise healthy. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off the infection, after all; however, there are instances in which you will want to call your children’s doctor to find out whether you need to come in for care.
We believe in a parent’s intuition, so if it seems like something just isn’t right, you should give us a call and find out if your child’s symptoms or behaviors are something that need to be handled right away. Your child’s exact temperature and their age are two very important factors when it comes to whether or not your child should receive medical attention.
It’s important to call your pediatrician if your baby is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 F or higher. A baby between the ages of 3 to 6 months old that has a fever of 101 F or higher (or has a fever that lasts more than a day) should also see a pediatric doctor. If your child is between the ages of 6 months and one year old and has a temperature at or above 103 F or has a fever lasting more than a day, give us a call.
Other times to call a pediatrician include:
- A high fever that lasts more than a day in children who are 1 to 2 years old
- A child that has a fever of 104 F or higher (age does not matter in this case)
- A fever that is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea
- Signs of dehydration along with a fever
- A fever that is also accompanied by a rash
- Children who have weak or compromised immune systems and develop a fever
If your child’s fever doesn’t require a visit to your pediatrician you can try applying warm compresses or bathing your child in lukewarm water to help ease their symptoms. Never use cold water or ice to bring down a fever.
If in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician to find out what you should do about your child’s fever.