“I don’t feel so good,” your child groans. You put a hand to your child’s forehead, and sure enough, it’s warm to the touch. Fever strikes again!
A fever is not an illness itself – it is actually a sign that the body is fighting off an infection. And while fevers may cause your child discomfort, they are generally not a serious health concern. Fevers usually go away on their own after a few days.
High, medium, low: When is it fever?
Though 98.6F is considered a “normal” body temperature, our temperatures actually fluctuate throughout the day. But anything above 100.3F is considered a fever.
Normal body temperature is typically highest in the evening, says Carlos Lerner, MD, UCLA pediatrician. So when your child is sick, that natural increase in body temperature, plus the elevated temperature caused by the fever, means your child may be most miserable during evening and nighttime hours.
Common symptoms of fever include:
Three ways to take your child’s temperature
Even if you can tell by touch that your child has a fever, it’s a good idea to take his or her temperature, so you have an accurate reading. This is especially important in younger children, because a high temperature may warrant a call to your doctor.
There are three commonly used thermometers you can use to get an accurate temperature. Most should give you a reading within 10 seconds to two minutes.
Treating a fever
You can’t “cure” a fever, but these steps may make your child more comfortable:
A child can return to daycare or school after being fever-free for 24 hours.
When a fever is serious
Though you usually do not need to schedule a doctor’s visit at the first sign of fever, you should call your doctor if your child has these symptoms:
These may be signs of a more serious illness and should be addressed immediately.
For your child’s fevers, and any other aches and pains of childhood, make an appointment with the expert pediatricians at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.
Tags: body temperature, children fever, Children’s Health, Dr. Carlos Turner, fever, fevers, illness, irregular breathing, Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, pediatrician, seizure, stiff neck, thermometers, vomiting, Wellness