What is a fever?
A fever is an abnormal increase in body temperature to 100.4 F or above. Fevers in children can be very scary for parents, but they are a sign of a healthy body fighting an infection. It is rarely dangerous and cannot cause any damage to the brain.
What Causes a Fever?
Most of the time, fevers are caused by viruses and will resolve on their own without antibiotics! It's likely a virus if your child has a runny nose, cough, congestion, or even a sore throat along with the fever. Usually, you'll know a close contact with similar symptoms, such as a sibling or classmate. Sometimes it is caused by a bacterial infection, such as streptococcus, which you may know as "strep throat."
An important point to note for young babies: they have immature immune systems. You should always speak with your pediatrician if your infant is under three months and has a temperature at or above 100.4F.
How can I know if I should go in in-person?
This is the million dollar question. Take a look at the points below for a good rule-of-thumb on how to tell whether the fever is something worse. (And if you are a blueberry member, just talk to your online pediatrician anytime 24/7 and we can help guide you.)Your child should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible if:
- Their neck is stiff.
- They are not able to touch their chin to their chest.
- They have difficulty breathing.
- They have unexplained excessive crying or irritability.
- The have excessive drooling.
- They have a severe headache.
- They have severe belly pain that doesn't go away.
- You start to see purple spots on the skin.
- They are not able to drink anything or keep fluids down despite drinking them.
- They are turning blue.
- They are not responsive or not waking up.
You should speak to a doctor if your child:
- Has diarrhea for more than 3 days or is worsening over the first 2 days.
- Is vomiting for more than one day.
- Is not urinating as frequently as usual.
- Has pain with urination or bloody urine.
- Is less alert and active than usual.
- Has another specific complaint, such as ear pain.