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4 Fast Fever Facts

Temperatures can rise all year long. Here's what to know no matter when fevers strike.
 

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• Germs don’t hibernate.
“Children can often develop a fever thanks to the so-called summer cold, which is caused by a virus that occurs this time of year,” says Jennifer A. Lowry, M.D., a specialist in pediatric pharmacology and medical toxicology at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, MO. These viruses get passed around the same easy way as winter ones — through contact with other people and gunky surfaces.

• Fevers often aren’t dangerous.
They’re simply the body’s natural defense against the virus. In fact, they’re a sign that the body is fighting infection.

• How a kid acts is important.
Your child’s behavior can indicate how serious the fever is. If your child’s acting normally and the fever’s low-grade, you probably don’t need to worry much, says Dr. Lowry. (See “When to Ring the Doc,” below.)

• Medication isn’t always necessary.
Docs discourage fever reducers unless your child is uncomfortable, since they may up the risk for side effects like kidney damage. Before you reach for meds, ease symptoms by keeping your kid well-hydrated with water and in a cool place. You can also place cool cloths on her forehead, suggests Dr. Lowry.


When to Ring the Doc

1. Your child is younger than 4 months old and has a fever of 100.4°F.

2. Your child’s fever has lasted for a few days.

3. It occurs two to three days after surgery.

4. It’s accompanied by abdominal pain, stiff neck, vomiting, chest pain, rash, or a seizure.

5. Your child’s immune system is compromised due to sickle cell disease, cancer, or steroid medication.

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