Reviewed by William Blahd on April 22, 2016


Special thanks to Chattahoochee Nature Center: American Academy of Pediatrics, Hansa Bhargava, MD, WebMD Pediatrician

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Archive

Video Transcript

Narrator: A day out with the kids is great, but most parents worry when a fever slows their child down. However, an elevated temperature is rarely dangerous… What is a fever, exactly?

Hansa Bhargava, MD: A fever is a healthy body's way of defending itself against an infection.

Narrator: What can I do when my child has a fever?

Hansa Bhargava, MD: When your child has a fever they really need tender love and care.

It's really important to make sure your child is comfortable if he has a fever. Some of the things you can do to help that is to make sure your child is well hydrated and gets enough rest. Narrator: What if my child doesn't feel like eating or drinking?

Hansa Bhargava, MD: When a child gets sick, they generally don't like to eat or drink. And with a fever that increases the risk of dehydration. So it's really important to continuously offer your children liquids. Now your child may not have that eight ounce glass of water all at once, but if you continue to offer him sips every ten to 15 minutes, then you will be able to get more fluids in him.

Narrator: What if my child can't get to sleep?

Hansa Bhargava, MD: If your child is having difficulty sleeping or having trouble eating or drinking because he's so uncomfortable, you can go ahead and give him a fever reducer or a pain reliever. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are both good. Remember when you use them use the correct dosage. So it depends on the weight of the child and the age of the child. And remember it does take about an hour to an hour and a half for them to kick in, so don't fret if it's not kicked in immediately.

Narrator: When should I call the doctor?

Hansa Bhargava, MD: A fever is the body's natural defensive system against an infection. So it's a normal response. But if you're worried about your child and as a parent you know your child best, it's always important to talk with your physician. Other reasons you'd be worried about fever is if your child looks sick to you, if the fever is going on for more than 24 to 48 hours, and also if the child has a headache, vomiting or rash with the fever. But remember most fevers go away within two to three days and if your child looks well and is eating and drinking, then he probably will get over it himself.

Narrator: A watchful eye, plenty of fluids and a couple of days of rest is all it takes for most kids to recover.