Fever Care Instructions

Fever: After Your Child's Visit

Your Care Instructions

A fever is a high body temperature. It is one way the body fights illness.

Children with a fever often have an infection caused by a virus, such as a cold or the flu. Infections caused by bacteria, such as strep throat or an ear infection, also can cause a fever. Look at symptoms and how your child acts when deciding whether your child needs to see a doctor.

The care your child needs depends on what is causing the fever. In many cases, a fever means that your child is fighting a minor illness.

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Look at how your child acts, rather than using temperature alone, to see how sick your child is. If your child is comfortable and alert, eating well, drinking enough fluids, urinating normally, and seems to be getting better, care at home is usually all that is needed.
  • Give your child extra fluids or frozen fruit pops to suck on. This may help prevent dehydration.
  • Dress your child in light clothes or pajamas. Do not wrap him or her in blankets.
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for fever, pain, or fussiness. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child is younger than 3 months and has a fever of 100.4°F or higher.
  • Your child is 3 months or older and has a fever of 105°F or higher.
  • Your child's fever occurs with any new symptoms, such as trouble breathing, ear pain, stiff neck, or rash.
  • Your child is very sick or has trouble staying awake or being woken up.
  • Your child is not acting normally.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child is not getting better as expected.
  • Your child is younger than 3 months and has a fever that has not gone down after 1 day (24 hours).
  • Your child is 3 months or older and has a fever that has not gone down after 2 days (48 hours).

Care instructions adapted under license by Slm. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.