Parents are often quite concerned when a child has a fever. There is a common fear that the fever will hurt the child and cause further trouble – this is not true. Fevers are, in fact, typically harmless, and are often quite helpful in ridding the body of typical viral infections more quickly. Normal fevers between 100-104 are typical and not concerning. Here is what you need to know about fevers in children:

  1. If your child “feels warm,” remove a layer of clothing, wait 5-10 minutes, and then take a temperature with a thermometer. In infants under 3 months of age, the temperature must be taken rectally (in the bottom). In older children, an oral (mouth) thermometer or an ear thermometer is preferred. 
  2. Any temperature less than 100.4 is not a fever. A “low grade” temperature is between 100.4 and 102 degrees.
  3. Infants under 3 months of age should be evaluated right away for any temperature above 100.4. Call our office day or night if this is your primary concern. 
  4. Older infants, children, and adolescents do not need to be seen at the office for fever unless there are other significant medical concerns. In these children, we are typically not concerned until there is a fever over 104 that does not respond to an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, a fever that has occured daily for 5 days, or a fever lasting 2-3 days without an obvious source (like runny nose, cough, or sore throat). Fevers will often come and go for 3-4 days during the course of an illness, this is common and not concerning. If your child has had a fever in the past week, it went away completely for several days but then came back with new symptoms, we will want to see them in the office.