What To Do When Your Child's Fever Won't Ease Up

A child's fever isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it usually means the body is effectively fighting an infection. But sharing a home with a feverish child is stressful, especially when they're too young to tell you how they're feeling and what hurts. In most cases, it's perfectly possible to manage the fever at home. To start, make your child and the room comfortable (not too hot, not too cold), and offer plenty of fluids to make sure they remain hydrated, especially if they're sweating a lot (via UH Rainbow Hospitals). Children over two years of age can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as indicated in the bottle. For younger children, it's better to call your pediatrician to discuss dosage.

Fevers might go down with medication and then go back up for several days before your child is better, but this isn't always a bad sign either, according to Seattle Children's Hospital. You can add cold compresses and encourage rest as you continue to monitor at home. Experts from UH Rainbow Hospitals point out that as long as your child is over two years old, a temperature as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit can be safely treated at home, even if it takes a few days for it to go down. There are certain situations, however, when a fever not going down merits a trip to your pediatrician.

Deciding when it's time to call a doctor

While most cases of fever in children are manageable at home and will resolve in a few days, there are times when a doctor's visit is necessary. According to Cleveland Clinic, even a mild fever in a newborn or a baby under 3 months requires medical care. Children over 3 months should also see a doctor if their fevers are higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two other things that merit a doctor's visit include a fever that doesn't respond to medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and a fever that doesn't go away after five days. Stanford Medicine recommends taking children under 2 years to the doctor if their fever lasts more than 24 hours. Children should also see a doctor if they're overly upset and cannot be calmed down (or, on the other hand, if they're difficult to wake up), refuse to drink, or aren't producing enough urine, as these can all be signs of something more serious going on, according to Cleveland Clinic. 

Stubborn high fevers that come alongside other symptoms often require a doctor's visit too. Serious things like seizures, severe pain (throat or ear, for example), or continuous vomiting could be a sign that something more serious is lurking underneath. Rashes or intense headaches could also indicate a need for medical care (via UH Rainbow Hospitals).