Fever Fears


...that a fever is generally a good thing? Fevers are your body's way of fighting an infection. Bacteria and viruses do not like a hot environment, so your body cranks up the thermostat to help kill germs. YEAH!

...that a fever usually means the body is fighting an infection. It does not tell us if you are fighting a viral or bacterial infection. Both cause fevers that can range from low grade (100°) to very high (104°). With a viral illness, temperatures may come and go for an average of 4 days.

...that we typically treat a fever with tylenol (acetaminophen) or motrin/advil (ibuprofen) if it is over 101.5° to prevent dehydration, or if it is associated with aches and pains. Your temperature may go down with these medications and return as they wear off.

...that fevers do not cause permanent seizure disorders or brain damage. A seizure can occur in a young child with a fever. This is not due to the height of the temperature but due to the rapid rise in temperature. If your child has had a seizure associated with fever in the past then we would treat his/her fever more aggressively with tylenol or motrin.

...when you should WORRY about a fever? Contact or see your doctor if:

  • the temperature is persistently high (102°-104°) and not responding to tylenol, motrin or advil
  • the fever is associated with a rash or other concerning symptoms
  • the fever has been coming and going for more than 4 days
  • your child has decreased energy or seems listless even when the temperature is normal
  • your child is less than 1 month of age