Definition: A fever is defined as a temperature above normal (100.4 or greater if taken rectally -- see chart below.) Fevers are one of the body's ways of fighting infection.

As a rule, the actual temperature does not matter as much as how sick the child acts (activity, appetite, fussiness). If your child is acting sick, he should be seen by a doctor. An infant, 2 months and younger, should be seen immediately if the temperature is 100.4 degrees F taken rectally.

Cause: Fever is one of the ways the body fights off infection. Dehydration and other stresses on the body also cause an increase in body temperature.

The anticipated course of a fever differs according to the cause. See the guidelines listed below. If you are uncertain about whether or not your child needs to be seen, please do not hesitate to call us for advice.

Home Care and Treatment

Reduce the amount of clothing your child is wearing when he/she has fever. Do not chill the child, but keep clothing light and to a minimum. This will allow the body to lose the heat of the fever.

Dehydration causes fever and fever causes dehydration. If there is no vomiting, encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. This will help keep the fever down. Give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) every 4 hours dosed according to the following chart. Children older than 6 months may have ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) every 6-8 hours. Again, follow the dosing guidelines below. Do not give these medicines together but either one or the other for fever control.

© ABC Pediatrics of Kankakee County, S.C. 2015