Got a fever? When should your child visit a doctor

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A child with a fever can be frightening for families. It can be tough knowing what to do next. In healthy children, a fever may not indicate anything serious. However, when should a parent contact a doctor?

Causes for a fever

A fever is the result of the body’s internal “thermostat” raising body temperature.

  • Infection: A fever can help the body fight infections by stimulating natural defense mechanism.
  • Immunizations: Infants and children sometimes have a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated.
  • Teething: Teething can cause a slight rise in body temperature, however, it is probably not the cause if a child’s temperature is higher than 100 degrees.

When to seek a doctor

  • When a child looks very ill, unusually drowsy or is very fussy
  • Has been a very hot place (ex: overheated car)
  • Has other symptoms: stick neck, severe headache, etc.
  • Is younger than 3 months with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. A slight fever in infants can be a sign of a potentially serious infection.
  • Fever rises above 104 degrees repeatedly for a child of any age
  • Fever persists for more than 24 hours

Home treatment

Make sure a child is receiving plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Also, make sure to monitor for signs or symptoms of a serious illness. Families can pay attention to signs by looking how the child is playing or interacting with people after receiving medicine for discomfort.

For more information, visit or

Related: 5 common myths about childhood fevers


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