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Parents guide to fevers

When to call the doctor

Fevers can be caused by a virus or an infection and are a sign the body is fighting something.  How high does a fever need to before you need to see a doctor.
Fevers can be caused by a virus or an infection and are a sign the body is fighting something. How high does a fever need to before you need to see a doctor.


JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Rosy cheeks and a warm forehead are often signs that your little one has a temperature but it's important to remember a fever is a normal sign that your child's body is simply fighting an infection. So pediatricians say most fevers aren't cause for concern.

"If a child runs a fever and the parents are able to keep the fever under control and the child seems alert enough and is able to drink and eat at least half as much as they typically do, the child should be fine," says Dr. Elaine Schulte

Schulte is with the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital and says a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above is officially considered a fever. When your child has a fever, it's best to keep them cool and offer clear fluids so they stay hydrated. Water, diluted juice or even popsicles are all great options.

A lukewarm bath can help bring a temperature down too.  Not all fevers need to be treated with medicine, but if your child's fever is high and they're uncomfortable, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to bring it down. Just be sure to follow the recommended dosage for your child's age.

A child with a fever may be more tired than usual so, it's important they get plenty of rest and stay home.

"They should definitely stay out of school, daycare or their child care facility until their fever is gone for at least 24 hours," says Schulte.

Also call the doctor if your child has a fever and is less than 3 months old.  Calling the doctor is also warranted if the fever lasts more than five days, is higher than 104 degrees, or if your child isn't playing, eating or drinking normally.


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