If your child is struggling with a fever, it’s important to remember that what they’re experiencing is a very normal response to illness. When your child is exposed to a germ, their immune system initiates a complex immune response to fight it off, and that response shows up as a fever.
By itself, fever is never an emergency - it’s always more important to find out what’s causing the fever. That said, if your child is feeling lousy, lowering the fever can often help them feel better.
Most people would agree that a ‘normal’ body temperature is 98.6 °F. However, what’s important to understand is that there is a range of normal temperatures both above and below this number, and that a 'normal' temperature is highly dependent on how the temperature is taken.
Rectal temperatures are generally the most accurate, but an oral or armpit (axillary) temperature can be as low as 96 °F and still be considered normal!
The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 °F or higher in infants and 101 °F or higher in older children and adults. At its highest, a fever can push a child’s temperature to 104 °F or even 105 °F.
Tepid water sponge bathing
Dress your child in light clothing
Use light blankets
Neither the height or length of fever are reliable predictors of serious illness. Scary stuff like meningitis may present with fevers that aren’t all that high, and viral illnesses which we often think of as being not all that serious can cause fevers as high as 104 or 105 °F! The short answer is that generally, we recommend you seek care: