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By: Amber White

Waking in the middle of the night sweating from a fever can be quite alarming, especially if it’s a child that has the fever. The good news is that fevers aren’t necessarily bad. The rising body temps are usually an indication that your immune system is doing what it’s supposed to do, by fighting harmful viruses and bacteria. However, a fever can reveal that your body isn’t able to kill off the invaders and is succumbing to serious illness.

How do you know whether it’s just a minor infection or a potentially major one in need of urgent medical treatment? Here is a general guide to fever and how to know when to worry . You should worry about a fever and seek medical care when:

  • A fever lasts more than 3 days
  • A fever over 103 °F occurs in children 4 months of age or older or a fever above 100.4°F occurs in adults
  • A high fever causes febrile seizures
  • Any fever occurs in an infant 3 months of age or younger, no matter how low
  • Over-the-counter medications don’t reduce the fever
  • Symptoms such as confusion, swelling (especially of the throat), bloody stool, painful urination, neck stiffness, rash, and/or hives occur along with the fever
  • Your child has a fever and is lethargic and just doesn’t seem to be acting their normal self. With most kids once the medication kicks in and drops the fever they feel better until the fever returns, if this doesn’t happen it may be a cause for concern.
  • Your fever is accompanied by dehydration (increased thirst, decreased urine output, dizziness, confusion)

Remember, the best way to correctly measure body temperature is with a rectal thermometer. If you check for a fever orally, avoid any food or drink within 5 minutes to improve accuracy. Once you have determined that a fever is present, follow these general guidelines on whether to get urgent care for your fever. When in doubt, it’s always best to walk right in or call us or your primary care doctor for an appt.