Fever in Children: When To Call A Doctor
Fever in children and infants can be worrisome for parents. Even if it’s only a slight fever from a cold or other minor illness, you just want it to go away so your child will feel better. If it’s a moderate or high fever, you will probably wonder when or if you should call the doctor.
You know your child better than anyone, so if you think he or she needs medical care for a fever, call your child’s pediatrician or other healthcare professional.
There are also some warning signs to watch for in children and infants with fever. Some signs that indicate you should seek medical attention immediately include if:
- A baby under 3 months of age has any fever
- A baby over 3 months has a fever below 39 degress Celsius and seems unusually irritable or uncomfortable
- A baby over 3 months has a fever higher than 39 degress Celsius that does not respond to fever-reducing medication, or lasts longer than 1 day
- Your child has convulsions
- Your child acts very sick, or is lethargic and difficult to awaken
- Your child has a stiff neck, headache, rash, repeated vomiting or diarrhoea
- Your child’s fever hasn’t changed in over 3 days
- Your child has loss of appetite or stomach pain
- Your child has a sore throat
- Your child has ear pain or is pulling at their ears
- Your child has pain with urination
- Your child has wheezing or difficulty breathing
If the doctor determines that a virus is causing your child’s fever, there is often no better treatment than time, rest, and fluids – unless the symptoms are severe. The doctor may also prescribe fever-reducing medications. These medications can help to make your child more comfortable.
Treating fever at home
Children who do not exhibit any warning signs can be treated at home for their fever.
At-home treatment may include using over-the-counter fever-reducing medications to lower a fever. Always follow all dosage instructions carefully, and talk to your pharmacist or child’s doctor before giving medicine.
You can also make your child or infant more comfortable by:
- Dressing the child in loose, light clothing
- A lukewarm bath or sponging can help cool a fever, but make sure the bath/sponge is not cold as this can cause shivering and actually raise the temperature.
So while fever in children can be worrisome for parents, it usually is not serious and little ones – and you – will feel better in a few days. If you are concerned, call your healthcare professional for advice and treatment.