Fever does not harm your child in any way, even fevers of 104 or 105; innocent viral infections (colds, flus, etc.) can easily cause fevers this high. Fever is very different from hyperthermia, an increase in your child’s temperature not controlled by the body (i.e., leaving a child in a closed car on a hot day, or overexertion on a hot day). Unlike hyperthermia, fever is regulated closely by the body and never reaches dangerous levels.
Fever is uncomfortable, and treating it makes many kids feel better. Our chief medical concern with fever is dehydration. When your child runs a fever, he is losing body fluids. To prevent fluid loss, try to bring the fever down as best you can—acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four hours and a lukewarm sponge bath—and be sure he drinks as much as possible. If you are concerned your child is becoming dehydrated, call the office or the doctor on-call.
Fever is often associated with other symptoms. Some symptoms, such as a runny nose, are innocent explanations for a fever. Other symptoms are more concerning: if your child seems especially uncomfortable, or has a fever in association with severe stomach pain, neck pain, or visual problems phone the office or the doctor on-call. Any fever that lasts greater than 3 days with no other symptoms to explain it also should be brought to our attention. Finally, call us with any temperature greater than 100.4 (taken rectally) in a baby less than two months old.
If you have any additional questions about fever, please don’t hesitate to talk with one of us.