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A trip to the emergency room is warranted if your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms along with a fever:
  • Does not respond to anti-fever medication
  • Is less than three months old
  • Lethargy
  • Problems breathing
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Acting irritable
  • Decrease in urine

Pediatric Fever Overview

A fever is not a disease, but a symptom. Your child has a fever when the temperature is at or above one of these levels:

  • 100.4°F°C) measured rectally
  • 100°F (°C) measured orally
  • 99°F (°C) measured under the arm

If your child is less than 6 months old, take his/her temperature rectally.

Pediatric fevers can be one of the most challenging symptoms that parents and doctors face. Most fevers are merely the result of minor illnesses, such as colds and viruses. In rare cases, they can be the warning sign of more serious bacterial or viral infections.


If your child is an infant, you should call your WellStar pediatrician if he/she:

  • Is under 3 months of age and has a rectal temperature over 100.4°F (38°C)
  • Is aged 3-6 months and has a rectal temperature above 101°F (38.4°C)
  • Is over 6 months old and has a temperature above 103°F (39.4°C)

If your child is older, it is important to evaluate the entire situation. Some children can register a temperature of 104°F (40°C) and act fine; others can be extremely ill with a temperature of 101°F (38.4°C). Contact a WellStar pediatrician if your child has a persistent fever for more than one or two days. Other signs that demand immediate medical attention include:

  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Severe headaches
  • Seizure

Also, you should call your WellStar pediatrician if your child has a fever and another medical condition, such as heart disease, cancer, sickle cell, and immune system problems.