For the safety of your family, this information is intended for use by North Seattle Pediatrics patients exclusively.
Fever is usually a sign that your child’s immune system is responding to an infection of some kind. Unless your child is under three months, you may take the temperature with any thermometer. A digital thermometer under the arm is fine and will have a result within one half a degree of the core temperature. Ear thermometers can read several degrees higher than your child’s actual temperature and so are the least accurate.
Fever in an infant under 3 months may represent a serious infection, so it is important to have an accurate temperature for these babies. Use a rectal thermometer for infants under 3 months. For an infant under 3 months with a fever (100.4° F rectal or 38° Celsius) call us immediately at 206-368-6080.
Most infections causing fever are caused by viruses and involve only mild signs of illness or discomfort. The fever is part of the body’s response to fight off the virus and is not harmful. Children will often have fever up to 104° F (40° C) with a viral illness. Typically fevers due to a virus will spike up and down 2 or 3 times a day for 3-5 days. Fever can make children not feel well and not look well. If your child is uncomfortable we recommend that you use a fever reducing medication (Tylenol or ibuprofen).