Doctor's Notes on Fever in Children
Fever is the presence of an abnormally high body temperature. Medically, a person is not considered to have a significant fever until the body temperature is above 100.4 F (38.0 C). Fever arises due to an immune response to infections with viruses, bacteria, or fungi. It can also occur as a response to certain drugs or toxins. Fever in children is a common symptom of most infections such a colds, gastroenteritis (“stomach flu”), influenza, and ear infections. In children, immunizations or teething may cause a short-term low-grade fever.
Common symptoms and signs associated with fever include:
- night sweats,
- muscle aches, and
- loss of appetite.
Other symptoms and signs that accompany fever depend on the exact cause of the fever and can include:
- ear or throat pain,
- headache, and
- skin flushing.
What Is the Treatment for Fever in Children?
Treatment of fever in children depends on the source of the fever. If the cause is an infection, treatment can include:
- antifungal medications, or
- in certain viral infections, antiviral medications.
A number of medications can be used to reduce fever and control pain. Examples include:
- naproxen, and
Aspirin should not be used for fever in children or adolescents because its use in children and adolescents during a viral illness has been associated with Reye's syndrome.
Cold & Flu : Influenza vs. Common Cold QuizQuestion
Which illness is known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection?See Answer
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What Is Considered a Real Fever?A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature. A fever is not an illness in itself, but a sign the body is fighting an infection. Fever is often defined as a core (rectal) body temperature of 100.4° F (38.0° C) or greater in adults and 99°F (37.2°C) (armpit) or 100.4°F (38°C) (rectal) in babies under one year. A fever usually isn't a concern unless it is 103° F (39.4° C) or higher.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.