My Child Has a High Fever: What Should I Do?

My Child Has a High Fever: What Should I Do?

As your child is growing up, you can expect them to catch certain childhood illnesses. It’s common for children to develop a fever in response to a viral or bacterial infection.

A fever isn’t always something to worry about, but certain fevers can mean your child needs extra support. In this blog, Rainilda Valencia, MD, Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C, and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, pediatric care specialists at Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, explain what you should do when your child has a high fever.

What is a fever?

Your child has a fever if they have a body temperature of 100.4°F or higher. Depending on your child’s age and personal preferences, you can get an accurate reading of their body temperature with a digital thermometer inserted orally or rectally.

In addition to having a high temperature, your child might express discomfort. It’s common for children with a fever to feel warm, be less active, and have increased thirst and lowered appetite.

Whether or not your child’s fever is considered a high fever depends on their age. If your child is over four months old, a fever up to 104°F shouldn’t necessarily cause alarm. For children under three months old, any temperature higher than 100.4°F needs attention.

Most types of fevers aren’t dangerous and are your child’s body's healthy response to help them fight off an infection. You can expect most fevers to go away in under three days.

How to treat a fever at home

You can treat the majority of childhood fevers at home. Like any other illness, encourage your child to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Keep your child clothed or wearing a blanket, but don’t put them in lots of layers or covers. You can give your child a cool compress on their forehead, but avoid ice or ice baths.

Children over two years old can usually safely be given infant or children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce their fever. Follow the dosage recommended on the package for their age and weight. Call our team for medication and dosage advice if your child is younger than two.

When to seek pediatric care for a fever

There are certain times when your child might need extra care. Contact our team at Valencia Pediatrics, or urgent or emergency care after hours, if your child:

You should also contact us for advice if your child’s fever has broken but they don’t appear to be improving.

A high fever in children can require additional treatment, but our team steers you and your child toward the best medical care to help them get better. If you have any concerns about your child’s fever, contact us by calling Valencia Pediatrics today to discuss the next steps in their care.

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