When Do I Take a Child to Urgent Care for a Fever?

A sick child rests in bed. Her mother feels her forehead so see if she has a fever.

A fever is the body’s natural reaction to illness, injury, or infection. It causes the body’s internal temperature to rise above normal levels. Normal body temperature for babies and children ranges from 97.9 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. If your baby, toddler, or young child has an internal body temperature between 98.7 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts more than 24 hours, they have a low-grade fever.

How to treat a fever at home

If your child has a low-grade fever without other symptoms of illness and is not showing signs of lethargy, try these at-home strategies to break it:

  • Rest
    It’s important to let your child stay in bed and rest so their body can focus on healing. Do not bundle them up (unless they have the chills). Instead, keep them cool in loose clothing and light bedclothes to relieve the discomfort of a fever.
  • Drink
    Keep your child well-hydrated with water or Pedialyte to help restore fluids and electrolytes lost through perspiration.
  • Soak
    Give your child a lukewarm bath or use cold compresses to help make them more comfortable.
  • Treat
    Talk to your primary care physician before giving your child over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen and be sure to follow all label instructions carefully. Do not give aspirin to babies or children under 2 without consulting your doctor first. If the fever persists for more than 24-48 hours, or your child develops new symptoms, visit your nearest urgent care center to help them feel better, fast.

When is a fever too high?

Seek urgent medical care in the following situations:

  • Infants younger than three months with a fever above 4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Children between three months and 24 months with a fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit

Visit your doctor or local urgent care center if the fever is accompanied by other symptoms like excessive tiredness or lethargy, ear pain, diarrhea, moderate vomiting (without the presence of blood), or a sore throat. If your child has a fever with severe symptoms, like vomiting with or without the presence of blood, visit your nearest emergency room.

When do I take a child to urgent care for a fever?

Children with a high-grade fever, which is anything over 100 degrees Fahrenheit when taken orally or 99 degrees Fahrenheit when taken axillary (under the arm), should seek urgent medical attention at your nearest urgent care center within the first 24 hours to avoid medical complications.

Coastal Urgent Care of Baton Rouge is equipped to safely treat a persistent or severe fever with or without additional mild to moderate symptoms. Our skilled specialists can quickly diagnose your problem and provide appropriate treatment and/or medication, so you can start feeling better fast. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week.