Fairmount Pediatrics
and Adolescent Medicine


When a fever is serious:

  1.  Fever should start the first day of an illness. If a fever comes later in an illness, it’s a sign of a bacterial infection and the child needs to be seen. Schedule on the website please.
  2. Fever should last no more than 5 days. If it lasts more than 5 days, it’s a sign of a more serious illness and the child should be seen. Schedule on the website please.
  3. Fever should get hotter through the first day, stay high the second day, be lower the third day (but back up at night), be even lower the fourth day (normal during the day and up at night) and be gone the 5th day. If it doesn’t follow this pattern, it’s a sign of a more serious infection and the child should be seen. Schedule on the website please.

When to go to the ER for a fever:

  1. Under two months of age, with a  temp of 100.4 rectally, go to the ER right away.
  2. Unvaccinated child under 3 years old, with a temp of 103 or higher, go to the ER (why? the vaccines prevent serious bacterial infections. Without the vaccinations, the child is more likely to have a serious infection.) Be sure to ask the ER doctor for a complete blood count, since they may not be familiar with managing unvaccinated children.
  3. If a child or baby won’t play at all, if s/he stays in the same position if you put them down, has a stiff neck, a scary purple rash, small purple marks in the skin, all red skin, seizure, or has immune system problems, or just looks very bad to you, go to the ER. If s/he will play a little, if s/he is happy and alert in your lap, if s/he will hold the cup or bottle to drink, these are good signs.

Tips on caring for your child while they have a fever which you believe is normal — due to a virus.

  1. Give plenty of fluids.
  2. Keep the child comfortable. You can give Motrin/ Advil (ibuprofen) every 6 hours to keep the child feeling okay. A warm (not cold) bath will help the fever come down.