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What is a fever?

A fever means your child’s body temperature is above normal. A fever is part of the body’s immune system fighting infection. Call the doctor any time a baby less than 4 months has a rectal temperature greater than 100.4 ° F. Between four and six months of age, fevers greater than 102 require a call to the doctor.

What causes fever?
Most fevers (100 .4 to 104 ° F) that children get are helpful, not harmful. Most fevers are caused by viral infections, such as colds or coughs. In some cases fever can be caused by bacterial infections, such as strep throat, ear infections or bladder infections. Teething does not cause high fever.

How long will it last?
Most fevers with viral illnesses last for 2-3 days. In general, the height of the fever does not relate to the seriousness of the illness. What is most important is how your child is acting.

How can I take care of my child?
Children will generally be more comfortable if they are given medication when a fever is higher than 102 °F. A fever does not have to be treated as long as the child is alert, smiling and drinking fluids.

Extra fluids and less clothing
Encourage you child to drink extra fluids. Popsicles and cold drinks are helpful. Body fluids are lost during fevers because of sweating.

Medicines to reduce fever
Remember that fever is helping your child fight infection. Fevers only need to be treated with medicine if they are causing discomfort, typically this is fevers above102 ° F. In general, if your child is sleeping it is not necessary to wake them to give medicines. Safe medications include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol): children over 2 months of age can be given Tylenol.
- Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil): approved for infants over 6 months.
Correct dosing can be found on out website or on you child’s check-up handout.
**Avoid Aspirin: Children should not take aspirin for fevers. Aspirin taken during a viral illness, such as the flu, has been linked to a severe illness called Reye’s syndrome. If you have teens, warn them to avoid aspirin.

A lukewarm (not cold) sponge bath may soothe a child with fevers. Never sponge a feverish child with alcohol.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

• Your child is less than 4 months old and has a fever.
• The fever is over 104 °F and has not improved 2 hours after giving medication.
• Your child looks or acts very sick (fever along with severe headache, confusion, stiff neck, trouble breathing, rash or refusing to drink.)

Call within 24 hours if:
• Your child has had fever more than 24 hours without an obvious cause or location of infection AND your child is less than 2 years old.
• Your child has had a fever for more than 3 days.
• The fever went away for over 24 hours and then returned.
• You have any other questions or concerns.

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