A fever is when the body temperature is above normal. Your child has a fever if his/her:

  • Oral temperature is above 99.5°
  • Rectal temperature is over 100.4° (this method should be used for children less than 3 months old)
  • Auxiliary (armpit) temperature is over 99.0° (this method should be used for children above 3 months old)
  • Ear temperature is over  (do not use with children under 6 months old)
    • 100.4° – if rectal mode
    • 99.5° – if oral mode
  • Pacifier temperature is over 99.5° (Should only be used for children over 3 months. Using a pacifier temperature is not as accurate as oral, ear or rectal methods.)

When your child feels hot to the touch, this is referred to as a tactile fever. Although this method of checking for fever is more accurate than thought in the past, it is important to check your child’s temperature using one of the above methods before calling your doctor.

The average body temperature when measured orally is 98.6°, but can fluctuate during the day. Factors like exercise, excessive clothing, a hot bath, hot weather, warm food and warm drinks can contribute to a slight elevation in body temperature. If you suspect this, take his/her temperature again in 30 minutes.



Low Fever

High Fever









What causes a fever?
A fever is the body’s normal response to infections, and is only a symptom, not a disease. Fever helps fight infections by triggering the body’s immune system. Fevers 100°-104° are normal and not harmful. The majority of fevers are caused by viral illnesses, while others are bacterial illnesses. Teething does not produce fevers.

How long do fevers last?
Most fevers associated with viral illnesses range from 101° to 104° and can last 2-3 days. Usually, the height of the fever does not relate to how serious the illness is. What really matters is how sick your child acts. No permanent harm is caused by fevers. Only if one’s temperature is over 108° can brain damage occur. Fortunately, the thermostat in the brain helps keep untreated fevers far below this level.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Extra fluids – Fevers cause sweating, which can cause the body to lose fluids. Without forcing your child, encourage him/her to drink more fluids.
  • Less clothing – Clothing should be kept to a minimum since most heat is lost through the skin. Avoid bundling your child as it could cause fever. If your child experiences chills with his/her fever, give him a light blanket.
  • Medicines – It is important to remember that a fever is helps your child’s body fight an infection. Only use fever medicines if your child’s fever is above 102°, and if they are uncomfortable. After two hours, the medicines will reduce the fever 2°F to 3°F. However, unless the temperature was not elevated prior to administering medications, the drugs will not bring it down to normal. Repeated dosages of the medicines will be necessary until the illness runs its course. Do not wake your child to give medicines.
  • Acetaminophen – Children who are older than 3 months can be given acetaminophen (Tylenol). Give the instructed dosage based on your child’s weight every 4-6 hours.
  • Ibuprofen – Similar to acetaminophen, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) has the ability to lower fever. Ibuprofen actually has longer lasting affects than Tylenol offering 6-8 hours of relief. Give the instructed dosage for your child’s weight every 6-8 hours and do not use for children under 6 months of age.

    **Do not use a dropper that came with one product for another product. They are different.
  • Avoid Aspirin – It is recommended that children/adults under 21 should not use aspirin to treat symptoms of colds and viral infections, such as fever, cough or sore throat. Aspirin has been linked to a severe illness known as Reye’s syndrome, when it is taken during a viral infection, such as chicken pox or flu.
  • Sponging – It is usually unnecessary to sponge your child to reduce a fever. You should never sponge your child without giving him/her acetaminophen first. In the case of a heatstroke, delirium, a seizure from fever or a fever over 106°, sponging should be done immediately. Sponging is also necessary if your child’s fever is over 104° and does not decrease after being given acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and your child is uncomfortable. Use lukewarm water (85°-90°) if you do sponge your child. In the event of an emergency, use slightly cooler water. Sponging has faster effects than immersion, so sit your child in two inches of water and continue wetting the skin’s surface. Do not add rubbing alcohol to the water as it can cause a coma if breathed in. If your child begins to shiver, raise the temperature of the water or discontinue sponging until the acetaminophen or ibuprofen takes effect. You should not expect the temperature to get below 101°.

You should call our office:


  • Your child is younger than 3 months of age
  • The fever is higher than 104°
  • Your child appears very sick


  • Your child is 3-6 months old
  • The fever is between 104°-105°
  • The fever has continued more than 24 hours without an obvious cause or location of infection AND your child is younger than 2 years old
  • The fever has lasted more than three days
  • The fever went away for more than 24 hours, but has now returned
  • You have any other questions or concerns
Advil Dosing Chart
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