One of the most common questions we are asked is when should I take my child to the doctor when they have a fever?
A fever is not necessarily a bad thing. A fever is typically a sign of the body fighting off an infection. If your child has a fever, it is most likely because of a virus or bacteria. Think of it like boiling water – by increasing the body temperature, a person is trying to kill whatever bacteria is infecting them. It is important to remember that just because your child has a fever, does not mean they need an antibiotic. Sometimes, such as when your child has a cold, they need rest and fluids.
A temperature of 100.4°F is considered a fever by most pediatricians. This can change depending on the child. However, anytime a fever causes your child to feel uncomfortable is when the fever should be treated.
When treating fever, the goal is to help your child feel better. A child with a fever is often hot, irritable, and feels awful. Treating the fever allows them to feel better while the illness runs its course.
Fever can be treated with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated and keep their room relatively cool. Ibuprofen should only be used in children older than six months and should never be given to children who are vomiting consistently and/or dehydrated.
If a child over a year old has a fever below 101°F and is not unusually cranky, they most likely do not need to be treated for fever. Make sure they remain hydrated and monitor their temperature. If your child is younger than a year or the fever persists for more than three days, take your child to a pediatrician.
When you see that your child has a fever, monitor the temperature and keep track of what method you used to take it (underarm thermometer, oral thermometer, et cetera). This can help your pediatrician diagnose your child.
Call your pediatrician immediately if your child has a fever and:
- Is younger than 2 months of age
- Has additional symptoms such as a headache, sore throat, ear pain, or rash
- Has a condition, such as cancer, that suppresses immune responses
- Has a seizure
- Is overheated
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care sees children from the ages of 0-21 on a walk-in basis. We do offer a “book-ahead” feature that allows parents to save their spot in line. This is NOT an appointment. Little Spurs has 10 locations in San Antonio and two in Houston and is accredited by the Urgent Care Association.