When to seek medical advice

Your child has a fever if he or she:

  • Has a rectal, ear or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher
  • Has an oral temperature of 100 F (37.8 C) or higher

Call your doctor if:

  • Your child is younger than 3 months and has a fever

Seek medical care if a child of any age shows any of the following:

  • Fussiness, or acting abnormally, which doesn't improve even after taking medications to bring down the fever
  • Signs of dehydration, such as no wet diapers over eight to 10 hours, crying without tears, a dry mouth or refusing to drink any fluids
  • Stiff neck or a headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rash
  • Joint pain or swelling

Also get medical help if the fever lasts more than five days in a row.

Fever

Find possible causes of fever based on specific factors. Check one or more factors on this page that apply to your child's symptoms.

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