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:
Other symptoms and signs that accompany fever depend on the exact cause of the fever and can include:
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:
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.
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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.