Fever, child


Fever is a higher than normal body temperature. A normal temperature is usually 98.6° Fahrenheit(F) or 37° Celsius (C). Most temperatures are considered normal until a temperature is greater than99.5°F or 37.5° C orally (by mouth) or 100.4° F or 38° C rectally (by rectum). Your child'sbody temperature changes during the day, but when you have a fever these temperature changes are usually greatest in the morning and early evening. Fever is a symptom, not a disease. A fever may mean thatt here is something else going on in the body. Fever helps the body fight infections. It makes the body's defense systems work better. Fever can be caused by many conditions. The most common cause for fever is viral or bacterial infections, with viral infection being the most common.



The signs and symptoms of a fever depend on the cause. At first, a fever can cause a chill. When the brain raises the body's "thermostat," the body responds by shivering. This raises the body's temperature. Shivering produces heat. When the temperature goes up, the child often feels warm.

When the fever goes away, the child may start to sweat.



      Generally, nothing can be done to prevent fever.

      Avoid putting your child in the heat for too long. Give more fluids than usual when your child has a fever. Fever causes the body to lose more water.


Your child's temperature can be taken many ways, but the best way is to take the temperature in the rectum or by mouth (only if the patient can cooperate with holding the thermometer under the tongue with a closed mouth).



      Mild or moderate fevers generally have no long-term effects and often do not require treatment.

      Only give your child over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

      Do not use aspirin. There is an association with Reye's syndrome.

      If an infection is present and medications have been prescribed, give them as directed. Finish the full course of medications until they are gone.

      Do not over-bundle children in blankets or heavy clothes.


      Your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

      Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

      Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C)or higher.

      Your child becomes fussy (irritable) or floppy.

      Your child develops a rash, a stiff neck, or severe headache.

      Your child develops severe abdominal pain, persistent or severe vomiting or diarrhea, or signs of dehydration.

      Your child develops a severe or productive cough, or shortness of breath.