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When does a fever need to be seen by a health care professional?

By December 3, 2008 - 2:56pm
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I know that fevers in babies differ to fevers in adults.

When does a fever in a baby, child and adult reach a level where a doctor needs to be called, and when is a fever reducer enough?

Is there an actual number, in terms of degrees, when a trip to the ER or doctor's office is warranted?

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EmpowHER Guest

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December 17, 2008 - 4:17am
EmpowHER Guest

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December 16, 2008 - 3:21am

Great question. Coach Virginia answered this question best, and it is amazing how hot our little babies/toddlers can get! A high fever of 104F in an infant is considered "normal", whereas the same high fever in an adult can indicate a serious problem.

My son's temperature has risen to the 104F degree level, and he also experienced febrile (fever) seizures. It is scary, and once the paramedics arrived to our house, he had stopped seizing (actually, his seizing lasted only 60 seconds, although it felt like it was 60 years!)

Doctors recommended to us that we give our son a regimen of acetaminophen and ibuprofen alternatively around the clock until his fever had diminished. In fact, I recently read an article at Empowher (https://www.empowher.com/news/2008/09/03/kids-fever-time-cut-using-ibuprofen-first) that if you give children ibuprofen first (followed by acetaminophen), it can reduce their fever for longer periods of time.

The researchers conducting the study found, "After 24 hours, children given both medicines experienced 4.4 hours less time with fever than those who received just paracetamol, and 2.5 hours less time with fever than children who received just ibuprofen."

That is enough evidence for me to give my son ibuprofen first, followed by acetaminophen (following the directions on both labels); the fever was reduced by almost half the time in their study of over 150 children!

December 7, 2008 - 3:43pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

A fever of 101 and above for an infant is life threading and needs an ER! 104 and above throughout babyhood needs an urgent call to a doctor!

September 4, 2017 - 5:51am

Fever is the body's normal defenses against attack from an infection or another disease. It is therefore a symptom, not a disease itself. A part of the brain that acts as the body's thermostat controls body temperature by balancing hot and cold signals throughout the body.

Factors that influence body temperature are infections; vaccines and medications; and injury. Body temperature increases also occur with exercise, excessive clothing, a hot bath, or hot weather. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually believes that fever may actually play a role in fighting infections and shortening their course by turning on the body's immune system, thereby increasing the release and activity of white blood cells and other germ-killing substances.

The usual fevers (100°to 104°F) that all children get are not harmful. Most are caused by viruses and may last 3 to 5 days. In general, the height of a fever doesn't relate to the seriousness of the illness. How sick the child acts is what counts, and that should determine whether he or she needs a doctor's attention right away.

My daughter used to experience temperatures of 100F to 102F when getting viral infections then suddenly her fever would go up to 105F, she would get a febrile seizure for about a minute, I would rush her to the ER and by the time we got there her body had cooled down and the fever was gone. Not every child experiences these seizures. The American Academy of Pediatrics is a great place to learn more about fever and children. http://www.aap.org/topics.html

Mild fever is from 100F to 102F
Moderate from 102.1F to 104F
High from 104.1F to more

Adults are better at reading their bodies but according to an article in the Mayo Clinic, you should call a doctor if:

•Your temperature climbs above 103 degrees
•Your fever has lasted for more than three days.

In some cases, a fever can be an emergency situation. For instance, a fever that climbs above 106 degrees can cause a coma or brain damage: If you have a 106 degree fever, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away DO NOT WAIT for it to last 3 days!

December 3, 2008 - 10:13pm
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