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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Dec. 7, 2023

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Doctor: Your child’s symptoms are more important than the fever itself

Condition is a signal that the body's immune system is hard at work


A fever, when the body’s temperature is above 100.4 degrees, is typically a sign that your body is fighting off an infection.

Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, explains what signs to watch for when your child is running a high temperature.

Feeling feverish? The uncomfortable condition signals that your immune system is hard at work.

“Fever in and of itself does not necessarily need to be treated,” Ardon says. “I’m going to want to see that child with a fever who’s not drinking as much, maybe has a symptom they’re more concerned about, such as coughing or vomiting, to make sure we’re not dealing with something more serious.”

Ardon says babies younger than 3 months old who are feverish should be given care immediately. For older children, if a fever has not improved in three days or other symptoms have presented, contact your child’s care team.

When it comes to making your child feel comfortable, “use a cold rag to the forehead; sometimes a cool, tepid bath can just kind of make them feel better,” Ardon says. “Six months and older, we can use medications like ibuprofen to help our children feel more comfortable and lower fever. It is important to make sure you’re dosing that correctly. So having a more recent weight can be helpful.

“Feel free to call your pediatrician or family doctor to make sure they can give you the right dosing instructions if you have any questions,” Ardon adds.

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