A baby coming down with a fever can be frightening for any parent, and you might be wondering when to take your baby to urgent care for a fever. Rest assured that calling your pediatrician or primary care physician or thinking about getting emergency care is a perfectly normal response to the situation. However, rest assured that emergency medicine and professional intervention aren’t always necessary. This article will discuss everything you need to know about caring for your child when they have a fever and when to seek out a pediatric urgent care for medical attention.
What Do Fevers Do?
If your baby comes down with a fever, the first step is taking a deep breath. Fevers are usually not a reason for panic and are, in themselves, a good thing!
The normal range for our bodily temperature ranges from 97 to 99 degrees, with the average clocking in at 98.6 ℉. We get fevers as an immune response to a virus or bacteria entering our systems. The body raises its temperature in an act of self-defense, attempting to kill the infection and prevent a minor illness from becoming a major one. This is a good thing and means our body’s immune system is doing its job.
However, for those that are very young and very old, fevers should be closely monitored. If a fever gets too high for someone of a vulnerable age, it can sometimes be life-threatening.
Symptoms of Fever
You will be able to easily diagnose a fever at home by using a thermometer. However, it’s good to be aware of other symptoms that manifest when a fever is present:
- Chills and Shivering
- Muscle Aches
- Loss of Appetite
- Irritability or Fussiness
- General Weakness
Children and infants cannot always clearly communicate how they are feeling to their caregivers. For this reason, it is important to be on the lookout for signs that might indicate fever.
Causes of Fever
As previously stated, fevers occur in response to viral and bacterial infections in the body. In infants and children, fevers often manifest in response to the flu, ear infections, strep throat, or as a response to a recent vaccination, alongside many other things.
If you opt to take your child to the emergency room or a medical care facility in response to a fever, a doctor will be able to determine the root cause of the condition.
How to Care for a Fever at Home
Then treating a fever at home, it is important to keep your child as hydrated as possible. Make sure your baby gets plenty of fluids; babies should be given breast milk or formula instead of fruit juice or some other liquid. Children or infants who are vomiting can be given an electrolyte drink like Pedialyte to help keep their electrolyte levels up.
When eating, individuals with fevers often respond better to bland foods like crackers and broth. Allow patients to eat when they are hungry, but do not force them to eat, as this might upset their stomach and trigger vomiting.
Make sure your charge is in a comfortable room that is not too hot and not too cold. They should wear light clothing and rest under a light blanket even if they feel cold. Resist the urge to bundle them up; it is important to avoid overheating your child or infant , as this might make the fever worse.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can help lower your child’s fever. However, it is important to ensure you are administering the medication correctly and safely. Call your child’s medical provider before administering medicine, just to be safe.
These guidelines will help you give your child medicine safely:
- Be aware of how much your child weighs to determine the proper dosage.
- Then always check the instructions and warnings on the medication package.
- Follow the medication instructions on dosage and frequency. Do not deviate from them.
- Do not give ibuprofen to children younger than 6 months old.
- Do not give aspirin to children unless instructed to by your doctor.
When To Take a Baby to Urgent Care for Fever
If you are concerned about your child’s health and well-being, calling 911 or visiting one of the urgent care centers in your area is the right thing to do. You may find out afterward that it wasn’t necessary, but it is always better to err on the side of caution.
However, here are the general recommendations for when to take a baby to urgent care for fever:
- 0-3 months old: call for any degree of fever.
- 3-6 months old: call if the temperature reaches 102℉.
- 6-24 months: cal if the temperature is 102℉ for longer than a day.
- Any age: call if any degree of fever lasts more than three days.
If your child has any additional symptoms that suggest the presence of an illness that can be treated, reaching out for help is advisable. These symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Sore Throat
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Stiff Neck
If a temperature exists, but your child is comfortable and alert, eating well, staying hydrated, urinating normally, and seems to be getting better, care at home is usually all that will be needed to treat your child’s fever.
Take the Road to Village Emergency Centers
If you’re worried about your child’s fever, your local emergency center is here to provide the care you deserve when you need it most by treating your child’s fever!
A trained medical professional will stabilize your child, making sure there is no immediate danger, and will assess the nature and cause of the fever through a physical exam, blood work, and asking for a history of the fever. Once your doctor has determined the cause of the fever, they will prescribe an effective treatment.
Rest assured that you’re in good hands when you take the road to Village.