Also known as: high temperature

What is fever?

Fever is usually the body’s response to fight an infection (however there are many non-infectious disorders that may cause fever). A body temperature that is above what is considered normal is considered a fever, though “normal temperature” can vary by 1F in different children. In general fever is usually defined as a rectal temperature greater than 100.4 F or 38 C. Temperatures measured under the arm or in the mouth are usually lower. A low grade fever is one that is less than 102.2F. Only quite high, persistent fevers are considered dangerous, though fever in infants (under2 years) or long lasting fevers require excluding serious illness.

The most frequent causes of fever is a viral or bacterial infection (though heat exposure, medications, allergies and rarely inflammatory diseases may all present with fever). The fever is actually the body’s reaction to try to kill the infection, which thrives at normal body temperature. Some fevers occur for unknown reasons.

What are the symptoms of fever?

Fever may cause your infant/child to be irritable and fussy, or quiet and sleepy. They may be feel warm/hot, not feed normally or lose their appetite, cry, breathe fast and have seizures. Older children may complain of body aches and headaches.

What are fever care options?

Home remedies for fever include controlling the temperature, ensure adequate fluid intake and rest. If your infant is less than 6 months, or the fever can't be controlled, or the child is becoming dehydrated because of failure of fluid intake or diarrhea or has a change in level of consciousness/seizure, is getting worse, other symptoms develop, or you're in any way uncomfortable about your child's condition, contact your Pediatrician or take your child to the nearest Emergency Department.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: May 13, 2019 01:09 PM