Frequently Asked Questions

A fever is defined as a temperature >100.4. The most common causes of fevers are colds and other viral infections. The cause of a fever often cannot be determined during the first 24 hours due to the fact that many illness present with fever before any other symptoms are present.

Reasons to call right away

  • ANY infant less than 2 months of age with a temperature >100.4
  • Fever >104
  • fever with additional, alarming symptoms such as neck pain, rapid breathing, poor responsiveness.

Reasons for office visits

  • Any of the above
  • fever more than two days
  • fever with sore throat, vomiting, rash, ear pain, wheezing, insect bite, urinary discomfort, or any other concerning symptoms.

Home care advice:

  • Increase fluids and dress in 1 layer of lightweight clothing
  • Temperatures greater than 102 may be treated with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for comfort. See Common Medication Dosages. Children should not be given Aspirin.
  • Sponge baths can be helpful for fevers >104 that do not come down with medication. Use lukewarm water and sponge for 14-20 mins.

Is fever dangerous?

  • Some infections can be dangerous, but fever itself is not (even 105°). 
  • While it is true that some families carry a tendency for brief seizures during a rapidly rising fever, even these "febrile seizures" cause no permanent damage.
  • Therefore, comfort is the only true goal of fever reducers.