When Is a Fever Serious?

Your child's body temperature fluctuates throughout the day, depending on their activity, their clothing, what the weather is outside, and the time of day. It usually falls between 97.4 to 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When your child's temperature rises to 100.4°F or above, then your child has a fever.

With the pandemic and people's concern about COVID-19, it's understandable that parents would be worried if their child has a fever. However, a fever is usually not a serious condition. Below, our knowledgeable medical team at Liberty Pediatrics shares guidelines for when you should be concerned about your child's fever. 

What causes a fever?

Although most parents are concerned when they see their child has a high temperature, a fever is often a good thing. It means your child's body is fighting off an infection or bacteria. When your child has an infection, their immune system releases chemicals, which raises their body's temperature.

The most common cause of a fever is a viral infection. Other common causes of fever include:

More serious causes of fever can include cancer, a brain disorder, or an autoimmune disease.

When to seek medical attention for your child's fever

Most fevers and colds subside after a few days without medical attention. As long as your child rests, stays hydrated, and stays home, they should get over whatever their body is fighting without medicine other than an over-the-counter pain reliever.

However, if your child is uncomfortable and in distress, you should seek medical attention, even with a low-grade fever. If you suspect your child has COVID-19 or someone in your family was exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you should immediately consult your doctor.

Otherwise, the child's age, the degree of temperature, and accompanying symptoms will help you decide when a fever is serious and warrants medical attention. For example, if your child has a fever but is still eating and playing, chances are your child's condition will improve on its own with rest. However, seek medical attention or advice if your child:

Does your child have a fever? If you're concerned or have questions, call Liberty Pediatrics in Vestavia, Alabama, for an appointment or request one online. 

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