Fevers: When it’s Time to Worry: January 19, 2017
Unfortunately, for parents all young children are vulnerable to getting sick. Fevers can cause a lot of concern, especially if your child isn’t feeling well. But doctors say fevers don’t always mean the child should come to the doctor.
Dr. Brian Schultz, a pediatric emergency physician at Golisano Children’s Hospital, says the average body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. A fever is considered anything over 100.4. “I think it’s important for parents to remember that most fevers in kids are caused by viral illnesses that go away on their own. The fever is the body’s natural response to the illness. So your body creates a fever in response to an infection, whether it’s viral or bacterial or otherwise, because it helps your body’s immune system to work better.”
Parents are encouraged to focus less on the child’s temperature and more on how the child is acting and what other symptoms they may be having. “If they have a fever but they don’t seem bothered by it, they don’t seem to be symptomatic from it, they don’t seem achy at all, you don’t necessarily have to treat it,” said Dr. Schultz.
In that case, he says the fever will typically go away on its own. However, if a child is not acting themselves, appears to be more listless, or fussy, it may be time to give the child medication. “The reason we treat fever with acetaminophen is we’re treating more of their symptoms rather than a specific number.”
If a child’s fever and symptoms get worse, it’s time to take them to their pediatrician.
Bottom line - if you’re going away for the holidays, don’t leave your safety precautions at home.