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Fever in children is usually a sign that they are fighting an infection. There are many ways to measure a child's temperature, but rectal and oral (under the tongue) temperatures are the most accurate. Fever itself does not make an illness worse or hurt the brain. When a child has a fever, it is important to keep him or her well-hydrated. You can treat the fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol) if your child is uncomfortable and is over 2 months old. Remember not to give aspirin to kids!

Come to the doctor's office if…

  • Your child is under 2 months old and they have a fever of 100.4° F, even if they have no other symptoms. A fever in a child this young could be the only sign that they are sick. Do not give them any medicines to mask the fever.
  • Your child is between 2 months old and 1 year old and they have a low-grade fever for more than 3 days.
  • Your child is over 1 year old and has a high-grade fever.
  • Your child is acting very tired or sleepy or it is difficult to arouse your child from sleep.
  • You think your child might be dehydrated. For instance, if they are refusing to drink or are urinating less than usual.
  • Their urine smells bad or they have a history of getting UTIs (urinary tract infections).
  • Your child has had fevers for one week or longer.
  • Your child has a fever and another chronic medical problem like cancer, heart problems, or lupus.

Kids often have other symptoms in addition to a fever. Visit the other links to learn more about other common symptoms.