When your child has a fever, it is normal to feel frightened. After all, you love your child and want him or her to be healthy and happy. The good news, however, is that fevers are generally not dangerous and they are often easily treatable. The next time your child develops a fever, here is the information you'll want to know.
What Causes a Fever?
While it can be difficult to know for certain what is causing your child's fever, the most common cause of fever is a simple cold or infection. Other possible, but less likely, causes include vaccines, blood clots, autoimmune disease and certain drugs or medications.
Is a Fever Dangerous?
Fevers are generally not dangerous themselves though they can be a symptom of a dangerous condition. Fevers can be dangerous by themselves, however, if your child's temperature soars too high. If your child is under four months of age and has a temperature of over 100.4° F or if your child is older than four months and has a temperature of over 104° F, you should call your child's doctor at Children's Physicians or go to the emergency room right away.
What are the Best At-Home Fever Treatments?
If your child's fever is becoming too high or if your child seems uncomfortable or in pain, there are several at-home remedies you can use to try to reduce your child's fever. For example, you may try giving your child a lukewarm bath, letting your child have a popsicle or placing a cold washcloth on your child's forehead.
You may also try an over-the-counter medication designed specifically to reduce fever. Infants under six months of age can only have infant acetaminophen. Older children can have children's ibuprofen or children's acetaminophen, but you should never give aspirin to a child under 16. Please consult with your child's doctor before administering any medication.
Keep in mind, however, that these treatments only temporarily mask the fever symptoms. Once the treatment's effects wear off, the fever may spike again. If your child does not seem bothered by the fever, however, treatment is likely not necessary.
When Do I Need to Bring My Child into See the Doctor?
While fever on its own is often not dangerous, there are a few warning signs you need to watch out for. Call your child's doctor at Children's Physicians right away if your child's fever lasts for more than 2-3 days or if your child exhibits any of the following symptoms in conjunction with a fever:
- Sore throat
- Decreased urination
- Pain while urinating
- Shortness of breath
- Inconsolable crying
- Difficulty waking or staying awake
- Suspicious rashes or bruising
- Blue or purple tongue, lips or nails
- Stiff neck