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Children’s Fevers: When to Worry

Fevers and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s an unpleasant fact of parenthood that your little one will battle fevers off and on throughout his or her childhood. That leaves you wondering when to worry and when to let nature take its course.

Are all fevers dangerous?

Fevers are the body’s way of combating an infection, illness, allergy, immunization or, less frequently, a disease. The hypothalamus in the brain elevates the body’s temperature as a response to an infection. “I tell my patients not to worry unless a fever exceeds 102° rectally. In babies under 3 months, watch for 100.4° rectal temperature,” said Advance ER  physician, Dr. Ronnie Shalev. “At that point, it’s time to call or visit your physician. If your child’s fever is 104°-106°, it’s time to come to our freestanding ER and let us take a look.”

What else should I look for?

In addition to fever, it is time to bring your child to Advance ER if he or she shows any of these symptoms:

  • Dehydration – dry diaper, wrinkled skin, sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of responsiveness or change in consciousness
  • Uncontrolled fever – doesn’t respond to acetaminophen
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Uncontrolled vomiting or diarrhea
  • Breathing irregularities
  • Seizure

“You know your child the best. If you suspect something is not right, or if it seems like more than just a passing fever, bring him right in—day or night,” said Dr. Shalev. “We can take a look at him right away and give you a diagnosis, run tests or consult with a specialist, if need be. At Advance ER, we will take your concerns seriously. Your child’s welfare comes first.”

What can I do at home?

Some basic suggestions to help your child ride out his or her fever can be:

  • Plenty of fluids – combat dehydration and fluids lost to vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rest – stay home from school, cancel appointments, stay out of sports, etc.
  • Medication – not recommended for babies under 3 months. Babies over 3months can receive acetaminophen with dosing according to label directions. Babies over 6 months can receive either ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Aspirin should always be avoided in babies and in kids cialis online pharmacy. Be cautious of duplicating medication—some cold or flu meds may already contain acetaminophen. If the fever persists for more than a day while on medication, call your physician.
  • Tepid baths – lukewarm baths may help reduce or break a fever. Fevers may return several times afterwards, so continue to monitor your child.
  • Take your child’s temperature several times a day. When it reaches or exceeds 102°, call your physician.

What kind of thermometer is best?

A digital thermometer that uses electronic sensors to gauge the body’s heat levels is readily available at most stores. Some prefer a digital ear thermometer, but there is some debate about its accuracy in babies. You can use a digital thermometer orally, rectally or under the armpit. The armpit is usually considered the least reliable method, but may give you a quick indication of the child’s current health. For best results, try obtaining a rectal temperature. Be sure to use a different thermometer for rectal and oral, and mark them clearly. Clean it with alcohol or soap and water after each use.

For a rectal reading, put a bit of petroleum jelly on the tip of a digital thermometer, turn it on, gently insert the tip into the rectum only about ½”. Don’t force it past any resistance. For an older child, an oral reading may be taken. Turn on the thermometer and place it under the tongue and towards the back. Have the child close his lips during the reading.

We’re here for you.

Whether you are unsure of the seriousness of your child’s fever, or if you are certain it’s time to be seen by a doctor, Advance ER is open 24/7, right when you need us. We will get your child right into a bed and a physician will be there in a matter of minutes. With in-house labs, testing equipment and teleMED services offering fast consultations with specialists, we can diagnose and treat most common and acute childhood illnesses.

Don’t sweat out those fevers at home when you can get a fast diagnosis and treatment with your friendly professionals at Advance ER.

Meet Dr. Shalev:

Dr. Ronnie P. Shalev is board-certified in emergency medicine and sees patients of all ages for both acute and common concerns. Dr. Shalev received her medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Lubbock, TX.

Dr. Shalev completed her emergency medicine residency at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. After that, she returned to Texas to serve in emergency medicine as an attending physician.