What to Do About My Child’s Fever?

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What to Do About My Child’s Fever?

With the crazy late cold weather here in Cache Valley and Utah, we are still seeing sickness going into Spring this year.  A lot of common illnesses are accompanied with a fever.

Typically, fevers go away with proper hydration and over-the-counter medications. However, it’s always best to see a doctor if your child has a high fever that doesn’t go down.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) are common over-the-counter remedies. Be sure to read the label for the proper dosage.

What is a Fever?

Fever is the body’s way of telling you that it’s fighting off an infection. Generally, fevers are mild and will go away in a few days.

One of the most important things to do when your child has a fever is to get them well-hydrated. Drinking lots of fluids can help lower their temperature and relieve any aches and pains they might have.

In fact, a good rule of thumb is that children should be drinking every ounce of water they can stand to drink during a fever.

In the end, a fever is just one of many symptoms your child may experience as they battle an illness. While it may be tempting to rush your child to the emergency room, in most cases, rest and TLC are all that’s needed for your child to feel better soon. If you’re still not sure what to do about your child’s fever, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your case.

When Should I Take My Child to Urgent Care?

A fever is a natural concern for parents, but it can be tricky to determine when to take your child to urgent care or the emergency room. Some situations are obvious — for example, if your child collapses or shows signs of a stiff neck — but others are less straightforward.

For most minor illnesses, fever is easy to handle at home with rest, proper hydration and over-the-counter medications when necessary. But a high fever can indicate a more serious issue, like pneumonia. It’s good to keep a thermometer on hand that is easy to monitor your child’s temperature and see how high the fever is.

The right time to visit an urgent care center varies by the situation, but generally pediatricians recommend going there if your child has a fever of 100 degrees or higher and is younger than three months. It’s also a good idea to go if your child has a fever that lasts more than four days or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as rashes or abdominal pain.

How to Treat a Low-Grade Fever

If your child has a fever that lasts more than four days, if they have other symptoms or if their temperature doesn’t come down with over-the-counter medication, it may be time to call your doctor or visit Urgent Care.

While you’re waiting to talk with your pediatrician, try to keep an eye on your child and make sure they are getting plenty of rest, fluids and good nutrition. Fevers are a normal part of life, and your body’s natural response to a cold or other illness is to boost white blood cells to fight infection.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lowering your child’s temperature as soon as you can to avoid any discomfort they may feel and to help them heal faster. The best way to do this is to provide them with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) to reduce their fever.

A rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher in a baby or child over 3 months is considered a fever. However, new AAP guidelines are in place to help pediatricians prevent overtreating fevers.  So if your child has a Fever for only a day or two that is only 99 – 100 degrees, you usually let the fever run it’s course without jumping to the medicine.  Just make sure your child stays hydrated.

How to Treat a High Fever

A fever is a natural reaction to a virus or bacteria.

Fortunately, most fevers aren’t harmful or life-threatening in healthy kids and they usually go away within a day. But if your child’s fever goes high, it could be time to call the doctor.

Your infant should be seen by your doctor if she’s younger than 6 months and her temperature hits 102 degrees F or higher. If your baby has a rash that doesn’t “blanche” to skin pressure (indicates bleeding into the skin) or if she is vomiting, dehydrated, has trouble breathing or is inconsolable, you should take her to the emergency department right away.

Over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help to bring down the fever. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the package carefully.