Disclaimer: The information below does NOT apply for infants younger than three months. For infants, it is very important to call your pediatrician immediately for a temperature below 97 degrees, or above 100.4.
For children older than three months, often times parents are so afraid of fevers, or the number on their thermometer, that they cannot separate that number from their child’s overall wellbeing and safety. We wanted to take a moment to give you the fever cheat sheet. We hope this will help you be calmer, happier parents, and will give you insight into when to seek medical attention.
A fever is one of the techniques that our body uses to fight infection – by raising its temperature, the human body creates a less hospitable environment for illnesses and infections. A fever is not an illness. It is our body’s response - a sign or symptom that our body is fighting an illness or infection.
Anything below 100.4 is not considered a fever. In general, a fever itself is not dangerous. The brain has a built in mechanism that will not allow the body to go above 106 degrees (except in rare instances like heat stroke).
The number on the thermometer is not an indicator of the seriousness of the illness or infection. There are many mild viruses that cause raging fevers. Similarly, there are serious ear infections that don’t cause a fever at all.
The way your child acts is way more important than the reading on the thermometer. We always treat the child, not the number! So put the number aside, and take a look at your child - do they seem uncomfortable? Are they crying and irritable? Do they have a headache? Stiff neck? Belly ache? What are their other symptoms?
Fevers do make children lose fluid more rapidly, so be sure to offer your children more to drink – water, soup, ice pops and cool, decaffeinated teas are all good options.
Remember - we are open seven days a week - so never hesitate to call us if you are worried. We never second-guess the value of a parent’s intuition.
Wishing you a healthy weekend.