from your Nurse
All about FEVERS . . . .
Fevers can be a
very scary thing for parents, particularly for first-time parents. Every child will eventually experience a
fever, no matter how careful you are. It is important for parents to know
what to do when this happens.
First, some tips on measuring your child’s
- A variety
of thermometers are available, from standard oral thermometers the newer
temporal artery scanners. You can use
any of these devices, but a digital thermometer is generally all you need.
- It is
most accurate to use a rectal thermometer for infants and young
children. If you feel uneasy doing this,
use whichever device makes you most comfortable. In older children, an oral temperature is
most accurate if the child is able to tolerate it.
to keep your cool
So, what is a fever? We define a fever as a temperature over
100.4F. Normal body temperature is
98.6F. Everyone’s body temperature
varies throughout the day and can differ by age, activity level and other
factors. Don’t be alarmed if your
child’s temperature varies. The magic
number for a fever is 100.4F.
When should you not worry about your child’s
- Fevers of less than five days if your
child’s behavior is relatively normal. You don’t need to be concerned if your
child continues to be playful and is eating and drinking (even if he/she
feels more tired than usual).
- Temperatures of up to 102.5 F if your child
is 3 months to 3 years of age, or up to 103 F if you child is older. These temperatures can be common, but not
- Low-grade fevers if your infant or child
was recently immunized. These can be
normal if they last less than 48 hours.
to call your doctor
Now for the important question: When should you be worried about a
Call a doctor when:
- An infant younger than 3 months of
age develops a fever. Fevers may be
your infant’s only response to a serious illness.
- You child’s fever lasts more than
five days. The cause needs to be
- Your child’s fever is greater than
- Your child’s fever does not come
down with fever reducers.
- Your child is not acting like him
or herself, is difficult to arouse, or is not taking enough liquids. Babies who are not wetting at least four
diapers per day and older children who are not urinating every 8-12 hours may
become dangerously dehydrated.
- Your child was recently immunized
and has a temperature above 102F or a fever more than 48 hours.
- You are concerned. If you are uncomfortable with your child’s
temperature or illness, call your doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss it.
What to do if
a seizure occurs
Seizures are a very scary side effect of fevers
in some children. “Febrile seizures”
occur in 2-4% of all children under age 5.
Not all seizures cause jerking movements of the body. Some seizures look like “passing out.”
your child develops a seizure:
- Put your child on his/her side.
- Do NOT put anything in your child’s
- Call 911 if the seizure lasts
longer than 5 minutes. If it lasts
less than 5 minutes, call your child’s physician or seek urgent care.
What to do
about multiple fevers
If your child has persistent or multiple episodes
of fever and a pediatrician cannot figure out what is causing them, he or she
may refer you to a specialist. A
pediatric infectious disease expert or pediatric rheumatologist may be able
to get to the bottom of the issue.
hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Your 27J School Nurse Consultant Team
Jenny, Kala, Jeannette, Andria, Karen