Fever is one symptom of colds, flu and many other illnesses. These tips will help you know when to seek medical care and how to treat fever at home.

What is a fever?

A fever is an increase in your child's body temperature. Normal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C). Fever is defined as greater than 100.4°F (38°C). 

Fever is commonly caused by a virus. Your child's body uses fevers as a defense to help fight infection. The cause of your child's fever may not be known. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a normal temperature will vary with age, activity and time of day. Infants tend to have a higher temperature than older children, and everyone’s temperature is highest between late afternoon and early evening. It’s typically lower between midnight and early morning. Below are some helpful tips on how to cope with a child’s fever.

How to Manage Fever

We recommend giving your child the recommended dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for fever control. Most store-bought medicine comes with dosage recommendations.

After the medicine is given, it will take at least one hour to take effect. Even then your child’s temperature may not return to normal. This is normal! Fever fights whatever germs are making your child sick. Continue to encourage your child to drink fluids and stay hydrated while feeling sick. Sponge baths and light clothing options are recommended. If concerned, please call the office of your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider.  

When to take your child to the Emergency Department

  • Your child is under 3 months of age and has not yet received their 2-month immunizations
  • Your child's temperature reaches 105°F (40.6°C)
  • Your child has a fever for longer than five days
  • Your child has a dry mouth, cracked lips or cries without tears
  • Your child is urinating less than three times in a 24-hour period
  • Your child is less alert, less active, or is acting differently than normal
  • Your child has a seizure or abnormal movements of the face, arms or legs
  • Your child has a stiff neck, severe headache, confusion or is difficult to wake
  • Your child is crying, irritable and cannot be soothed


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