When Fever is Dangerous

A fever is usually a sign that something is wrong with your child. But whether your child needs to see a doctor depends on his or her age:

0-3 months – “You should always take a newborn’s temperature rectally,” says Andrew T. Sledd, MD, FAAP, pediatrician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “When your infant’s rectal temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, see your doctor. If your doctor is unavailable that day, head to the emergency department.”

Sledd_Andrew3-12 months – You should still take temperatures rectally. Only temperatures higher than 101 are cause for concern. “Even then, you should wait 24 hours before seeing your doctor, and 48 hours if your child does not appear ill,” says Sledd.

Older than 1 year – You can take temperatures in the mouth or arm and can wait up to three days before seeing a doctor. “After five days, you must see a doctor,” says Sledd.

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