There’s something in the air and no, it’s not holiday magic – it’s RSV, influenza, and a bunch of nasty colds. If your child comes down with a fever, it’s likely from a viral infection and not serious. Although fevers are harmless and often helpful, they keep many parents up at night, watching and worrying. If you’re ever in doubt about what to do, or your child’s symptoms have you concerned, please call us for 24/7 Nurse Advice. Remember, if you’re up and concerned, so are we. We’re happy to be there for you, so you can get the answers you need and hopefully some Zzzs too.
A fever is a body temperature that’s higher than normal (100.4°F or higher). Fevers with most viral illnesses last for 2 or 3 days and help your body fight the infection. Some viruses, such as influenza, can cause fevers for 5 to 6 days. For most kids and adults, fevers are uncomfortable, but not cause for concern. For older babies and kids, the way they act is a more important measurement of how sick they are (rather than just the thermometer reading). Everyone gets a little grumpy when they have a fever. Appetites may also be decreased. This is normal and should be expected.
Not every fever needs to be treated. If your child is still interested in playing and drinking well, no medication is needed. Instead, make your child more comfortable by dressing them lightly, offering extra fluids (popsicles are usually welcome relief), and giving them lukewarm baths. Give medicine only when a fever causes your child discomfort. Fever-reducing medicines are acetaminophen (Tylenol or a store brand) and ibuprofen for kids 6 months and older (Advil, Motrin, or a store brand). Do not treat fevers with medication in infants younger than 3 months of age, unless instructed by your pediatrician.