About Us
Programs & Services
Workshops & Groups
Health Resources
Hours of Operation
Garrison Creek
Health Resources

Managing Fever in Children

Resources and weblinks

Return to: Health Resources

(Adapted from About Kids Health – Fever)

What is a fever?

A fever is a body temperature higher than 38°C. Temperatures between 37°C and 38°C are not considered a fever.

When your child gets a fever, it is a normal response to their body fighting an infection caused by either a virus or bacteria. Your child’s temperature increases because their immune system is trying to fight the infection. 

It is important to note how long the fever is lasting, not how high the fever is. Always use a thermometer to measure your child’s temperature.

 Age of Child

 Most Accurate Temperature

 Alternative (Easier, but less accurate)

< 3 years old

Rectal temperature

Armpit temperature

> 3 years old

Oral temperature (under the tongue)

Ear (tympanic) thermometer

For help on how to correctly take your child’s temperature, click here.

How to take care of a child with a fever

  • Keep your child lightly dressed and use light blankets
  • Ensure your child drinks plenty of fluids
  • Use medication (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) to help keep your child comfortable
  • DO NOT use aspirin to treat your child’s fever
  • A child with a fever may not have an appetite and may not eat much. This is not a concern, if your child is taking plenty of fluids and is peeing regularly.

When to seek medical attention

Go to the nearest Emergency Room if:

  • Your child is less than3 months of age and has any fever over 38°C.
  • Your child develops a rash that looks like small purple dots that do not go away when you apply pressure with your fingers (blanching).
  • Your child is not able to keep down any fluids, is not peeing and appears dehydrated.
  • Your child is in constant pain.
  • Your child is lethargic (very weak) or difficult to wake up.
  • Your child has a stiff neck.
  • Your child has a seizure associated with fever for the first time or a long seizure associated with fever.
  • Your child does not use their arms or legs normally or refuses to stand up.
  • Your child appears blue around the lips or is struggling to breathe.

Book an appointment with your Doctor if:

  • Your child is older than 3 months and has any fever over 38°C lasting more then 72 hours.
  • Your child is looking or acting sick, such as is less interactive and more irritable.
  • Your child seems to be working harder to breathe, such as breathing faster or you can see your child’s ribs when they breathe in (indrawing).

For more information, visit About Kids Health.

Additional Resources