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Your Child's Fever

Fever can be a very scary thing – especially for first-time moms and dads. So how do you determine whether your child’s fever is harmless or serious?

There is no exact temperature that means you need to take your child to the emergency room. As long as your child is drinking, is urinating, has normal skin color, is interacting as they should, and looks well when their temperature comes down you can monitor them at home.

Seek Medical Attention for Your Child’s Fever When:

  • Your child is less than two months old and has a fever of 100.4 (F) or higher.
  • Your child has a weakened immune system and develops a fever.
  • There is no clear cause for your child’s fever (no cough, runny nose or known pain) and it has lasted for over two days.
  • Your child’s fever lasts longer than five days (even if they look well).
  • Your child’s fever is over 104 (F).
  • Your child is not acting like himself or herself, is difficult to arouse, or is not drinking liquids. Babies who don’t wet three diapers per day and older children who don’t urinate every 8-12 hours may be dehydrated.
  • Your child was recently immunized and has a temperature above 102F. Fevers after immunization usually last about 24 hours, so let your doctor know if it lasts longer than that.
  • Whenever you feel something more serious is going on, you should go ahead and contact your doctor.

Measuring a child’s temperature used to be quite a chore with the old glass thermometers. But today’s temperature scanners are quick and easy, and there is no need to worry about adding or subtracting a degree based on where on the body the temperature was taken.

Some scanners are used in the mouth, under the arm, or rectally. Others are placed on the skin of the forehead or behind the ear. And others are placed at the ear opening. There are several options to choose from, so find the one you feel comfortable using with your child.

It’s best to have a thermometer on hand before you need it. And you might want a second one in case there’s a question about accuracy.