About Fevers

When to Call Your Doctor if Your Child Has a Fever

The following are guidelines only. Your child's general appearance and behavior are more relevant indicators of illness than how high his or her fever is. 

Always call if your child appears or acts ill for any period of time.

Call immediately if your child:

  • is younger than 3 months old and has a rectal temperature greater than 100.5.
  • is younger than 3 years old and has a temperature of over 105.
  • is older than 3 years old ANDhas a fever over 105 AND the temperature has not dropped within 45 minutes of giving him or her weight-based doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Call immediately if your child has a fever and:

  • has a swollen ear.
  • is crying inconsolably.
  • is difficult to awaken.
  • complains of a stiff neck AND cannot put his/her chin to his/her chest without pain.
  • has purple spots on the skin that do not blanch (i.e. do not whiten when touched).
  • has difficulty breathing after his/her nose is cleared.
  • cannot swallow anything AND is drooling saliva.
  • has a bulging soft spot when he/she is sitting up quietly.
  • has a compromised immune system (i.e. has had their spleen removed, is undergoing chemotherapy or is HIV positive)

Call the next morning if your child:

  • is 3 - 6 months old and has a temperature of 102 or greater.
  • is 3 years or older with a temperature over 105 which does drop temporarily with weight-based doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Call the next morning if your child has a fever and:

  • has burning or pain during urination.
  • has ear pain.
  • has a sore throat AND any of these symptoms: swollen glands, headache, abdonimal pain, joint pain, or rash
  • has a temperature that persists longer than 48 hours without any obvious cause or infection.

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