Fever, a temperature at or above 100.4°F, is one of the more common childhood symptoms.
It is also one of the symptoms that tends to worry parents the most. There is even a term to describe how parents sometimes get over-concerned or overreact to fever -- fever phobia.
Most children feel bad when they are sick and they have a fever, especially when the fever spikes real high. This is often because of some of the secondary fever symptoms they may have, such as:
- muscle aches
Fever in younger children may also trigger febrile seizures. Although scary for parents, febrile seizures (a seizure that is caused by a fever) are usually not serious. They usually occur in young children, during a viral illness in which their fever spikes up high all of a sudden.
Treating Fever Symptoms
Treatment of a fever can include using an over-the-counter fever reducer, including products that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). If you child has an infection, using a fever reducer will not help your child to get better any faster, but they will probably make him feel better.
You should also give your child a lot of fluids when he has a fever, so that he does not get dehydrated. Keep in mind that treatment of a fever is usually to help your child feel better, so if he has a fever, but doesn't feel bad, especially if the fever is low grade, then you do not need to treat the fever.
Other Fever Symptoms
In addition to secondary fever symptoms, which typically go away as you are able to reduce your child's fever, other symptoms that accompany your child's fever may help you to figure out what is causing the fever.
These symptoms often include things like:
- an earache = an ear infection
- sore throat = strep throat, mono, or other viral infections
- runny nose = a cold or sinus infection
- dry cough, runny nose, muscle aches, and high fever = flu symptoms
- cough and trouble breathing = pneumonia
- a generalized rash after the fever breaks = roseola
- a seal bark cough = croup
- a sore throat and a sandpaper rash = scarlet fever
- dysuria (pain with urination) = urinary tract infection
Treatment of these symptoms will depend on the underlying cause, like antibiotics for strep throat, and time and rest for a cold.
Of course, kids don't always have classic pediatric symptoms. They can sometimes have an earache without an ear infection when they have a cold, sore throat, or even when they are teething.
And infections aren't the only things that can cause fever. Children with prolonged fever may have more mysterious symptoms, such as skin rashes, diarrhea, weight loss, or night sweats, and the symptoms might be caused by conditions like Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or even reactions to medications.