Your children are precious, and you want to keep them healthy and happy. The first moment you notice something is wrong can be scary, but not everything is as obvious as bleeding injuries. When do you call the doctor? Your local Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado are here to help. We have doctors on-call 24/7 and we offer same-day sick visits Monday through Saturday. To help you decide when we can best help you, this blog post outlines the symptoms of a fever that are too serious to ignore. Contact us today for more information, or call (970) 484-4871 for help any time of day!
Babies Younger than Three Months
It is especially important to watch for signs that your baby is sick if they are three months old or younger. Their immune systems hasn’t fully developed yet, which means they have a hard time fighting off illness. They can’t tell you when they’re sick and they are more prone to serious infections. You should call your pediatrician if your baby shows any signs of fever – 100.4 degrees or higher – even if they have no other symptoms. Protect your little one and watch for signs of illness before it can develop into anything serious.
Infants Three to Six Months Old
Once your child is a little older, they have a little more resistance to sickness. However, they are still very vulnerable. If your infant has a fever of 101 degrees or higher, call your pediatrician.
Toddlers Six Months to Two Years Old
You don’t have to be quite as vigilant once your child is six months or older. Remember that a fever isn’t the enemy, it’s an ally in keeping your toddler healthy. Their body temperature rises to fight infection, so short-lived, low-grade fevers aren’t necessarily a reason to call your pediatrician. If their temperature reaches 103 degrees or higher, however, that can indicate a more serious problem. You should also call your doctor if your child’s fever persists for more than 24 hours.
Other Serious Symptoms
There are other symptoms that, when paired with even a low-grade fever, should be addressed by a doctor. Contact your pediatrician today if your child has a fever over 100 degrees and experiences any of the following symptoms:
- When did you last take their temperature?
- Common cold symptoms
You should also call a doctor if your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, regardless of whether or not they have a fever:
- Toxic or very ill appearance
- Painful or persistent sore throat
- Severe headache and/or stiff neck
- Ear pain that persists or worsens
- Trouble breathing
No Response to Medication
Often a simple fever reducer like ibuprofen or acetaminophen will lower your child’s fever and help them feel better. You should contact your doctor if that isn’t the case. Keep an eye on how your child responds. If they are still acting sick or clearly feeling unwell even after their temperature goes down, that is a sign you should see a medical professional. Another sign of a more serious problem is a high temperature even after you have given your child medication. Visit our resources page to ensure you have given them the proper dose corresponding to their weight and the type of medication.
The context of your child’s fever can also indicate more serious problems. If they come down with a fever after being in a hot place, like an overheated car, you should call your pediatrician. It can also be cause for concern if they get sick after returning home from a trip abroad.
Older children have much stronger immune systems and can handle minor illnesses without too much fuss, but some cases still warrant a doctor visit. Any fever of 104 or 105 degrees or a fever that lasts longer than 72 hours should be addressed by a pediatrician. If your child has immune system problems – as a result of chemotherapy treatment, for example – don’t wait for their symptoms to get that bad before calling. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, call (970) 484-4871 to reach an on-call doctor in Fort Collins!
Prepare for Your Call
You will be expected to answer some questions over the phone once you call a doctor. Have your answers ready or take notes before you pick up the phone to speed up the process. Here are the questions you should be prepared to answer:
- What is your child’s temperature?
- When did you last take their temperature?
- How long have they had a fever?
- Are they experiencing other symptoms?
- Have you given them any medications?
If you have already tried to treat your child’s fever, make sure you note what medication you gave them and the dosage. You should also be ready to remind your doctor of any medical problems your child has had in the past, such as asthma or seizures. Even very dedicated pediatricians may be hard-pressed to remember every detail on the spot.
In the end, you should follow your instincts as a parent. You know your child best, and it always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to their health. At Pediatric Associates of Northern Colorado, there is always a doctor on call, even after hours and on weekends. Contact us today to schedule a same-day sick visit or call (970) 484-4871 for immediate assistance!