Fevers have been making parents nervous for ages. Before vaccines were developed, a fever was often a sign of life-threatening disease like diphtheria or meningitis. Parents learned to be wary. Thankfully, because of the success of immunizations, we live in a time in which the vast majority of fevers are not associated with dangerous illness. Most fevers are not a cause for concern, and actually help the body to fight off the infection.
- Your child has a fever if they have a temperature over 100.4, or an oral or axillary temperature over 99.5.
- Fevers in the range of 101-105 are common with viral illness and generally come and go for 2 to 3 days. The body has mechanisms to prevent most dangerously high fevers, those approaching 107.
- Only young infants need to have a temperature taken rectally, since this is most accurate and the degree of fever is extremely important in the very young. Once your child is over 2 months, an under-arm (axillary) temperature is sufficient.