StorkLine is a free 24-hour hotline for expecting moms and parents of young children. It is answered by Baptist Health Paducah nurses at (270) 575-BABY. Here is a common question and the nurses’ response.
Question: My child has a fever. Should I be concerned? How do I treat it?
Answer: Parents often worry about fever, but it is an indicator that a child’s immune system is working as it should in fighting off a viral or bacterial infection.
Children can run anything from a low-grade fever (102 or less) to a high fever with a cold. We treat a fever over 100.4 because it makes the child uncomfortable. The child needs to see a doctor if a fever of 102 or greater lasts longer than three days. Ear infections and sore throats can often cause high fever in young children.
Parents also should call the doctor when:
- A fever exists with a rash because it can indicate a bacterial infection.
- A child less than 3 months old has a fever. Don’t give children this young any fever medications.
- A fever causes a febrile seizure because a child’s temperature rises so fast.
Those children need to be seen in the Emergency room right away. Most children outgrow this danger by about age 3.
How to treat a fever:
- Remove most of their clothes. A diaper or underwear and lightweight shirt is enough.
- Do not cover with blankets. If a child is shivering, hold him or her close to you in your lap or cover with a sheet. Remove coverings and don’t hold too close when the chill passes. When someone with a fever is having a chill, the fever is rising. They may feel cold, but we don’t want to hold the heat in.
- Keep the surroundings cool.
- Give plenty of cool liquids to drink.
- Call the child’s doctor or Baptist Health Line to inquire about fever-reducing medicine dosages. Medicine dosages are based on weight, and children grow too fast to rely on what you have been told previously. It is OK to give them the previous dose while you are waiting for a call back.