Featured Local Business

Most Read: Wellness

Are Your Kids Caffeinated?

Find out why caffeine and kids don’t mix. Read more

Chatting About Online Safety

Nowadays kids of all ages are connecting with friends and fa... Read more

Why Manners Matter

Start your children on the right foot by teaching them manne... Read more

Why Yoga is Good for Kids

Little Cecilia Kocan, age 5, sat perfectly still, meditating... Read more

Nuts About Nuts

Holiday vacation time is approaching, and I already feel lik... Read more

Family + Sports = Fun

Fitness starts early—from a child’s first steps! When Mom an... Read more

Put an End to Bullying

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged ... Read more

The Dirt on Dirt

“Don’t track mud in the house!” “Wash your hands before din... Read more

Walking the Middle Path

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a relatively new appro... Read more

Zits for Grown-Ups

Cafeteria cliques may be a distant memory, but if you’re sti... Read more

Mediterranean Diet for Kids

It’s not just for grown-ups! Feed your kids the health... Read more

Infertility Procedures

Discover the latest treatment options for infertile couples... Read more

Make Sleep a Priority

  Parents often use bedtime stories and other peaceful... Read more

Let's Move

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in Amer... Read more

Fitting in Fitness

When was the last time you played with your children—really ... Read more

Concerned about Fever?

One the most common reasons I see a child in my office is fo... Read more

Girls Fighting Fire

While going on nature hikes, singing songs, and roasting s&r... Read more

Bringing Home Baby

As a parent-to-be, you are probably feeling overwhelmed as y... Read more

Eat Your Veggies!

Summer’s bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables offers a... Read more

To Cell or Not to Cell

My husband and I were sitting on the couch chatting one nigh... Read more

2015 Feb

Concerned about Fever?

One the most common reasons I see a child in my office is for evaluation of a fever. I receive many phone calls in the middle of the night from frantic parents because their child has a fever. Although it should not be taken lightly, a fever is not always an emergency. 

A fever itself is not an illness. It is usually a symptom of an illness or a sign that the body is fighting an infection. The fever is actually a good sign that your child’s body is working to heal itself as it stimulates other immune defenses. Normal body temperatures can be different depending on age, activity level, and time of the day. The average normal body temperature range is between 97.5° F and 99.5° F. Most pediatricians consider a temperature above 100.4° F a fever. 

Although you can tell if your child feels warm, feeling the forehead does not detect a fever. It is best detected with a digital thermometer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not use mercury thermometers to prevent accidental exposure and poisoning. The three most commonly used thermometers are the standard multiuse one, the temporal artery one, and the tympanic thermometer. 

Pediatricians consider the rectal temperature the “gold standard” of measurement. In children younger than 3 years, this is the best way to measure a temperature. When a child is 4 or 5 years old an oral measurement can be used. An axillary (armpit) temperature is less reliable, but is often used for screening in schools and daycares. The temporal thermometer is fairly reliable and a better screening device than an axillary temperature. Tympanic thermometers are not reliable in babies younger than 6 months. It requires proper placement and excess earwax might affect the reading. 

Parents often ask me what number should cause worry. I am not always concerned about the height of the fever unless it is above 105° F. I want to know how the child looks and how they are behaving. I have seen many children with high fevers running around the exam room and playing, while some fevers might be low but the child appears very ill. 

Not every fever needs to be treated, but there are things you can do to make your child comfortable. The main reason to treat a fever is to help your child feel better. Make sure to keep your child well hydrated with plenty of fluids since fevers cause the body to lose fluids more quickly. Offer them water, juice, or Pedialyte. Do not put too many clothes on your child or give an alcohol bath. 

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are safe and effective medicines available over the counter to reduce fever when used correctly. The doses are based on weight so be certain to read the labels carefully. Ibuprofen should not be given to children under 6 months of age or to those who are dehydrated or vomiting. Never use aspirin as it has been linked to a serious illness called Reye Syndrome. If your child is under age 2, discuss use of these medications with your pediatrician. 



• Any fever in a child under 3 months of age

• If your child looks very ill, lethargic, drowsy

• If your child is very fussy or inconsolable

• Your child has difficulty breathing

• Your child looks dehydrated

• If your child has a severe headache, stiff neck, rash

• Persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea

• A child with immune problems

• If your child has had a seizure

• If your child has been in the heat for a long period of time

• Your child acts sick when the fever is down

• Your child is getting worse

• Persistent fever > 48 hours

I recommend parents keep thermometers, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, dosing charts, and their doctor’s office number on hand. When your child has a high fever, it can be scary, but being prepared will help alleviate some of the anxiety. 

Cami U. Jordan, M.D

Cami U. Jordan, M.D., board-certified pediatrician, co-founded Partners in Pediatric Care with her colleague Dr. Rosemary Ashman in Virginia Beach. She is married to Dr. Louis Jordan and is the mother of two sons. For more information, call 757-491-7337.

Website: www.partnersinpediatriccare.com

Enter to Win a 2-Night Getaway Package at KOA Virginia Beach Holiday

Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to win a free 2-night Deluxe Cabin stay, Adventureworks Zipline park tickets, plus a Campfire & S'mores bundle for you...

Free to Enter!