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Fever: When to Call the Pediatrician

When your baby has a fever, it is usually a sign that their body is fighting an illness or infection. Fevers are generally harmless. In fact, they can be a good sign that your child's immune system is working, and the body is trying to heal itself.

The most important things you can do when your child has a fever:

  • make sure they drink enough fluids to stay hydrated and

  • watch for signs and symptoms of a serious illness.

It is a good sign if your child plays and interacts with you after receiving medicine for discomfort.

Call your child's doctor right away if your child has a fever and:

  • Looks very ill, is unusually drowsy, or is very fussy

  • Has been in a very hot place, such as an overheated car

  • Has other symptoms, such as a stiff neck, severe headache, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, breathing difficulty, an unexplained rash, or repeated vomiting or diarrhea

  • Has immune system problems, such as sickle cell disease or cancer, or is taking steroids or other medicines that could affect their immune system

  • Has heart problems that may affect how she tolerates a fever and increased heart rate as a result of the fever

  • Has had a seizure

  • Is younger than 3 months (12 weeks) and has a temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • Temperature rises above 104°F (40°C) repeatedly for a child of any age

Also call your child's doctor if:

  • Your child still "acts sick" once their fever is brought down.

  • Your child seems to be getting worse.

  • The fever persists for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years.

  • The fever persists for more than 3 days (72 hours) in a child 2 years of age or older.


If you have any questions or concerns about your child's health, ask your child's doctor.

Last Updated
Fever and Your Child (Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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