A fever is the most common concern prompting parents to bring their child to the emergency department or urgent care.
A fever itself is not life-threatening, unless it is extremely and persistently high. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about, as a fever is usually a normal response of a child’s immune system to a virus or bacterial infection. Most healthy children can tolerate a fever well.
What Causes Fever in Children
Some common reasons that children get a fever include bacterial infections, viral infections, side effects of medications, use of illicit drugs, and illnesses related to heat exposure and allergies.
Additional reasons for a fever are the body’s response to immunization or vaccines, ear infections, urinary tract infections and certain inflammatory diseases. A sudden change in the weather and an unhygienic lifestyle may also contribute to a fever.
What are the Symptoms of Fever in Children
Children can suffer from a low-grade or high-grade fever. In the case of a low-grade fever, the body temperature is slightly elevated above normal. This is generally between 98.8°F (37.1°C) and 100.6°F (38.1°C).
On the other hand, a high-grade fever in children over 3 months old is a rectal temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher.
The general symptoms associated with a fever in children include chills, aches, headaches, sweating or feeling flushed, loss of appetite, dehydration, weakness or lack of energy, and generally feeling ill. Also, small children may become irritable, fussy, lethargic and cry more often.
Although fevers aren’t usually a cause for serious concern, seeing your child suffer can be heartbreaking. But when children have a fever, they don’t always need to be given medication to lower it.
To help your child be more comfortable and help ease the symptoms, you can use some home remedies. These natural remedies can support the immune system and increase your child’s comfort level until they are well again.
When to See Your Doctor
You must take your child to the doctor or emergency room quickly if they have a very high fever of 104°F (over 40°C) or more and have symptoms like shivering or shaking uncontrollably, chattering teeth, trouble breathing, getting confused, or seeming floppy or complaining of leg pain.
Also, call the doctor right away if your child is younger than 3 months old and has a fever.