When a Fever Requires Medical Attention
By Odochi Nwagwu, MD
April 04, 2022
Category: Child Safety
A fever is one of the biggest concerns that parents have when it comes to their infant or child. We understand that a fever can sometimes be considered an emergency and you’ll need prompt medical attention. Of course, the good news is that often a fever will improve on its own. Know when your child’s fever warrants seeing their pediatrician for care.
What is considered a fever?
A healthy body temperature is 98.6 F; however, many things can elevate a person’s temperature including intense exercise, so not all temperature fluctuations mean that your child is sick; however, an illness or infection can certainly shift your body’s temperature as it works to fight off the bacteria or virus.
What can cause a fever?
There are quite a few reasons why your child might be dealing with a fever. Some common causes include:
- Viral infections (e.g. cold; flu)
- Bacterial infections
- Severe sunburns
- Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
- Inflammatory health problems
- Side effects of certain medications
When to see a pediatrician for your infant’s fever?
A fever that develops in an infant (babies under 3 months old) is often a far more serious matter than fevers in children. If your infant develops a fever of 100.4 F or over, it’s highly recommended that you bring them to your pediatrician right away for care.
When to seek medical attention for your child’s fever?
By the age of 3 years old, most children will have developed at least one fever. While some fevers won’t be anything to worry about and will go away on their own, it is important to know when your child’s fever requires medical attention. You should call your pediatrician if:
- Your child’s fever persists for more than 5 days
- The fever is over 104 F
- Your child has symptoms of dehydrated
- Medications aren’t helping to reduce their fever
If you are ever concerned about the health of your child, it’s important that you call your pediatrician. They can talk to you over the phone and discuss your child’s symptoms in greater detail to determine whether they need to come in for treatment. If your child has a fever and you’re worried, call your pediatrician right away to ease your worries.