When Should I Worry About a Fever?

Child-sick-fever-jpgIt’s that time of year, and thermometers are spiking everywhere. Lots of fevers right now are Flu related, but no matter what your fever is signalling, it’s great to know a few basics about fevers, and when you should or shouldn’t be concerned. We found some great articles from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WebMD.com to help guide us, and here are a few things to look out for if a fever pops up in your house:

When should you worry about a fever?

  • When an infant (6 months or younger) has a fever. The temperature to look out for is 100.4 degrees. Anything above that mark should trigger an immediate call to your doctor. Or, if your baby has a fever that lasts for more than two days, that’s another red flag that something more serious is responsible for the fever. In both cases, they’ll probably want to see your child right away.
  • For older children or adults, if a fever persists for a 5 day period. Usually a fever lasting this long isn’t overly serious, but a persistent fever is usually a sign that another health issue (flu, pneumonia, meningitis, etc.) is showing its ugly head. If you hit the 5 day mark, it’s a good idea to call the doc.
  • If a fever is coupled with other symptoms. Pay close attention to those additional symptoms. Often times, the fever is just part of the puzzle, so if you document the other issues, it will help a doctor determine the cause of the fever.

Nurse lines

NurseIf you have questions about a fever (or any other illness), nurse lines are a great place to start. To cut down on unnecessary visits, lots of medical clinics, hospitals, and emergency rooms have set up 24 hour nurse lines to give you the chance to ask some basic questions before you see a doctor. And, if they think you should be seen by a doctor, they’ll steer you to the right medical provider (urgent care, emergency room, your usual doctor, etc.)

Most are local, so you’ll want to check with your doctor’s office or do a quick search in your area to find a nurse line near you. They’re a great resource, and a wonderful phone number to add to your contacts.

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1 Comment

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