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Fever is a part of the body’s response to infections, and in more than 80% of cases, the infection is viral. Fever is an appropriate immune system response to infection and by itself, is not dangerous. Normal, healthy children will rarely reach temperatures above 106 degrees Fahrenheit even if they are not treated with fever reducing medications. We treat fevers because they can make children feel miserable and look quite ill. When a child has a fever, it is important to try to think about what is causing the fever, but try not to panic about the fever itself.

When your child has a fever, we strongly encourage you to look at your child rather than the number. If your child appears ill, uncomfortable, or low energy, treat the fever with Acetaminophen and/or Ibuprofen (babies over 6 months). These medications do not interact with each other and can be given together in babies that are over 6 months old. To ensure that you are appropriately dosing these medications, please see the medication dosing chart on our website. Reassess in 30-60 minutes. It is always reassuring to see a child perk up when the fever comes down. As long as your child is not having labored breathing, acting lethargic in spite of fever reduction, is staying hydrated, and is not demonstrating signs of a bacterial infection (e.g. ear infection, strep throat, UTI, etc.), it is okay to monitor and wait to contact our office for advice or a sick visit appointment. If the fever persists for more than 3-4 days or if new, concerning symptoms develop, we recommend scheduling an appointment to have your child evaluated by a physician.

The only time that a fever warrants an immediate trip to the Emergency Department is when it occurs in an infant less than 1 month old. At this age, a fever can be a sign of a potentially more serious infection. All babies at this age who have a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater should go to the Emergency Department for further evaluation. Temperatures should always be taken rectally in this age group.

Babies between the ages of 1 and 2 months are still at slightly increased risk for more serious bacterial infections. If your child is in this age range and has a rectal temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, you should call the office to discuss whether you need to go to the Emergency Room.

Fast Facts
If your baby is <2 months old, please call for any rectal temperature > 100.4 F
Focus on how your child is acting, rather than on a number
Treat with Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (or both if over 6 months) as needed
Call if your child has had a fever for more than 3-4 days, is having breathing problems, is getting dehydrated, or is showing signs of a specific bacterial infection.

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