Fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. Body temperature changes throughout the day and may be higher in the afternoon or evening. In older children, the most accurate way to measure temperature is with a thermometer under their tongue. For babies and younger children, taking a rectal temperature is the most accurate measurement.

Fever in general is not a medical emergency. Fever is a sign that one’s immune system is functioning well and responding to an illness process. A fever does not always require medication.

There are cases when a fever is more concerning:
  • If your baby is less than 3 months old and has a fever over 100.4 (taken rectally), he or she needs to be examined.

  • If an older child is listless, not drinking fluids, having trouble breathing, or has chronic medical concerns and has a fever, call our office for guidance.

In most healthy children, fever can be a normal part of a viral infection. It can last 3 to 5 days. If a child does not have chronic medical concerns, is able to drink fluids normally, and is not having difficulty breathing, it is OK to monitor the fever at home for a few days. You may give children over 3 months of age Tylenol, and children over 6 months of age ibuprofen as needed. Please note: these medications may only reduce the fever and may not bring the temperature to normal. See our dosing chart for dosing levels.

If the fever persists, or for symptoms listed below, we will ask you to bring your child to be seen:
  • Is your child not drinking fluids well?

  • Are there symptoms of strep throat: sore throat, headache, abdominal pain, rash?

  • Are there symptoms of a urinary tract infection, UTI: pain with urination, urinary frequency, vomiting, blood in urine?

  • Symptoms of sinus infection: headache or sinus paid with 10-14 days of cough and congestion not improving?

  • Symptoms of pneumonia: cough without nasal congestion, chest pain with cough, increased work of breathing?

  • Symptoms of an ear infection: Ear pain, frequent waking at night with pain?

Most importantly, always assess the child and not the number of their temperature. If a child looks concerning even if their fever is not high,
please call our office.

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Frederick County Pediatrics
11717 Old National Pike
New Market, MD 21774


Tel  (301) 882-7489

Fax   (301) 882-7520

Mon  9AM-6PM

Tue  9AM-6PM

Wed  9AM-5PM

Thu  9AM-6PM

Fri  9AM-4PM

Sat  9AM-12PM

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