Got a fever? When your child should visit a doctor

Health generic

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A child with a fever can be frightening for families. It can be tough knowing what to do next. In healthy children, a fever may not indicate anything serious. However, when should a parent contact a doctor?

Causes for a fever

A fever is the result of the body’s internal “thermostat” raising body temperature.

  • Infection: A fever can help the body fight infections by stimulating natural defense mechanism.
  • Immunizations: Infants and children sometimes have a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated.
  • Teething: Teething can cause a slight rise in body temperature, however, it is probably not the cause if a child’s temperature is higher than 100 degrees.

When to seek a doctor

  • When a child looks very ill, unusually drowsy or is very fussy
  • Has been a very hot place (ex: overheated car)
  • Has other symptoms: stick neck, severe headache, etc.
  • Is younger than 3 months with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. A slight fever in infants can be a sign of a potentially serious infection.
  • Fever rises above 104 degrees repeatedly for a child of any age
  • Fever persists for more than 24 hours

Home treatment

Make sure a child is receiving plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Also, make sure to monitor for signs or symptoms of a serious illness. Families can pay attention to signs by looking how the child is playing or interacting with people after receiving medicine for discomfort.

For more information, visit HealthyChildren.org or KidsHealth.org.

Related: 5 common myths about childhood fevers