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When Should You Worry About Your Child's Fever?

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While it’s normal for children to get a fever sometimes, it’s important to know when you see a doctor for a fever. A fever is a sign that the body is fighting off an infection. The body’s internal thermostat raises the body temperature above normal to reset the body when it is experiencing illness, such as the flu or an infection. This rise in temperature helps you fight off germs, as it creates an uncomfortable environment for them to survive in. At Health Services of North Texas (HSNT), our pediatricians and board-certified advanced nurse practitioners are trained in knowing how to diagnose and treat fevers in children during a pediatric care visit throughout Denton, Plano, and Wylie, TX.

Causes of fevers in children

A fever itself isn’t an illness, but a sign of another problem. Fever in children can be caused by:

  • Infection: Most fevers occur because it helps the body fight off infection as a defense mechanism.

  • Overdressing: Infants and newborns sometimes get fevers when they’re overdressed for the temperature. Because a fever in a newborn can be serious, it’s important to have young children checked out by a doctor.

  • Vaccines/Immunizations: Sometimes, babies or kids get a low-grade fever after they are vaccinated.

  • Teething: Teething can cause a slight rise in body temperature, but not usually more than 100°F

Fever symptoms

Some signs that your child may have a high fever in Texas include:

  • Sweating

  • Chills or shivering

  • Headache

  • Body or muscle aches

  • Dehydration

  • Loss of appetite

  • Mood changes

  • Weakness

How to take your child’s temperature

When your child has any of these signs of a high fever, it’s time to take their temperature. Taking it with a digital thermometer can confirm a fever. It’s a fever if your child’s temperature is at or above:

  • Orally: 100°F

  • Rectally: 100.4°F

  • Axillary (under the arm): 99°F

Ultimately, how high a fever is doesn’t tell you how sick your child is. A simple cold or viral infection can sometimes cause a high fever, but this doesn’t mean it’s always serious. Also, some serious infections in infants don’t cause a fever at all.

How to treat a fever

If your child’s temperature isn’t high enough to warrant a trip to Health Services of North Texas, you can give them a fever reducer based on their age and weight. Infants younger than two months should never be given medicine before being seen by a doctor. Dress your child in lightweight clothing and a light blanket, which allows them to sweat out of their blanket without being too uncomfortable. Have them drink plenty of fluids to help avoid dehydration. If your child is vomiting or has diarrhea, give them an electrolyte solution for kids. Keep kids home from school or daycare until their fever has gone away for at least 24 hours.

When to see a doctor for a high fever

Not all fevers need to be treated. However, a higher fever can make a child uncomfortable and often lead to dehydration. Kids whose temperatures are less than 102°F usually don’t need medicine unless they are very sick. For infants three months or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher, seek medical help. For children between three months and three years old, a fever of 102.2°F or higher requires medical attention.

Treat a high fever in kids quickly

While all kids get fevers, it’s important to understand when you need to seek medical help from our board-certified pediatrician and advanced nurse practitioner team at Health Services of North Texas. During a pediatric care visit, a pediatrician can examine your child to determine if their fever is a sign of something more serious. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our six locations throughout Denton, Plano, and Wylie, TX.