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When should you call the doctor about your child's fever?

ANSWER

You don't usually need to take your sick child to the doctor. But sometimes fever can be a serious warning sign. Call your pediatrician if he:

  • Has a temperature of 104 F or higher
  • Is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 F or higher
  • Has a fever that lasts for more than 72 hours (or more than 24 hours if your child is under age 2)
  • Has a fever along with other symptoms such as a stiff neck, extremely sore throat, ear pain, rash, or severe headache
  • Has a seizure
  • Seems very sick, upset, or unresponsive

SOURCES:

Lisa M. Asta, MD, spokeswoman, American Academy of Pediatrics; associate clinical professor of pediatrics, University of California San Francisco.

HealthyChildren.org: "When to Call the Pediatrician: Fever," "Best Ways to Take a Temperature," "How to Take a Child's Temperature."

Children's Physicians Network: "Fever."

Seattle Children's: "Should Your Child See a Doctor? Fever."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 19, 2019

SOURCES:

Lisa M. Asta, MD, spokeswoman, American Academy of Pediatrics; associate clinical professor of pediatrics, University of California San Francisco.

HealthyChildren.org: "When to Call the Pediatrician: Fever," "Best Ways to Take a Temperature," "How to Take a Child's Temperature."

Children's Physicians Network: "Fever."

Seattle Children's: "Should Your Child See a Doctor? Fever."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 19, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

How often do you need to check your child's fever?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.