Temperature Tips for Parents: When and When Not to Worry

With cold and flu season joining the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents are looking for guidance on what to do about common cold symptoms such as fevers. It's easy to get anxious and confused over all the new information about COVID-19 and fevers. 

Fortunately, research shows that children don't catch COVID-19 as easily as adults, and, when they do, their symptoms tend to be mild. It's good to remember that preschoolers get sick, on average, seven to eight times a year and teenagers, about four times a year. The expert medical team at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center in Bel Air, Maryland, shares what you need to know about your child’s temperature. 

What causes fevers?

The good news is that most fevers are nothing to worry about. In fact, a fever is usually a good sign. It means your child's body is fighting an infection or other illness. Most infections are caused by viruses and bacteria, which can both produce fevers. 

When a virus or bacteria enter your body, they seek to replicate. Your body raises its temperature to create an environment where the replicating process shuts down. Other causes of fevers include:

Most fevers resolve after a day or two on their own. In some cases, however, a fever may require medical attention. 

When should I worry about my child's temperature?

Symptoms of a fever include a quieter, less energetic child. They may feel warm or hot to the touch, but keep in mind that the skin's heat doesn't always translate into a high temperature. It's important to take your child's temperature with an oral, rectal, forehead, or ear thermometer.  

An average temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, although some children run warmer and some colder. Depending on age and activity, your child's temperature may vary during the day.

A temperature of 100.4 with a rectal, forehead, ear thermometer, and 100 with an oral thermometer is considered a fever. However, a fever is not always something that warrants concern or a doctor's visit. However, during the pandemic, you should call your doctor for advice if your child has a fever.

You should call your doctor immediately if:

If your child has a fever, or you're concerned about your child's health, call Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center to make a sick visit appointment today.

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