As parents, we worry about fevers when our children get sick. Many people fear fever, but remember: it’s the body’s way of fighting infection. A healthy immune system raises the body’s temperature on purpose.
A fever is any temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, but there is no specific temperature that is inherently dangerous to your child. Many have heard the old wives’ tale that a fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit will cause brain damage, but that isn’t true.
We treat fevers because they can make your child feel pretty miserable. They may be uncomfortable and fussy, and they may not want to eat or drink. Treating them with medicine just gives them a little bit of relief.
If your child is sleeping comfortably, there is no reason to wake them, even if they have a fever. But if your child wakes up fussy, go ahead and treat him or her with medicine.
Acetaminophen is available to even the youngest infants. Ibuprofen can be given after six months of age. The amount you give to your child depends on his or her weight, not age. It’s important to find out your child’s weight each time you visit the pediatrician so you know how much medicine to give.
In babies under three months of age, all fevers warrant a medical evaluation. Call your pediatrician right away if your infant has a fever over 100.4. Any child with fever and rash needs to be seen right away.