It is very troubling to care for a child with a fever, especially when it’s not certain how long the fever will last or when it will finally go down. A fever is defined as a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and it’s the body’s natural defense system to fight off bacterial and viral infections. Many different factors can cause a toddler’s fever, but they are not inherently or necessarily dangerous.
This article will address the question of “how long does a fever last?” and provide information about the steps to take if a fever is lasting longer than it should be.
New parents often have “fever phobia,” but the best thing to do in this situation is to try to relax and keep a clear head. Fevers are totally normal and common among children, and either oral or rectal digital thermometers work best to measure temperature in children.
Understandably, many parents and caregivers are concerned about a persistent toddler fever for 3 days that won’t go away. However, some physicians say to not worry about most fevers that last less than 5 days. This is the amount of time that a normal viral fever will subside with the flu virus, for example.
However, fevers caused by severe bacterial infections may actually go up after 3 days and take a week to completely go away. This is why other doctors recommend calling a pediatrician’s office for advice about high fevers that last more than 2 days to rule out the possibility of another underlying medical condition.
For a fever that lasts for 5 days and is still going strong, it’s important to make the child as comfortable as possible. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen (not aspirin!) may be recommended for children under a physician’s advisement; however, medication usually does not bring a child’s temperature back down to normal on its own. The next step is to call the doctor and explain the symptoms and progression of the fever during recent hours or days. Heed the physician’s advice, and above all, don’t panic!
Most pediatric fevers do not require medical attention and will go down naturally on their own after fighting an infection in the body. However, over-the-counter solutions, like PediaCare’s Fever Reducer & Pain Reliever are specially formulated for infants and can help make fevers more manageable and short-lived. Other home remedies include giving the child cool drinks, keeping the child lightly dressed, and sponging off the child’s body to increase the level of comfort.
But ultimately, the way that a child looks and acts is much more important than a numerical reading on a thermometer. It is advised to call a doctor about fevers in infants who are less than three months old or in children of any age that exceed 104 degrees. It may also be time to call a doctor if the fever does not come down with fever reducer medications, if it is accompanied by other unexplained symptoms, or if the child was recently immunized.
In this parental guide to fever relief, PediaCare provides resources for parents seeking answers for their child's special circumstances. Medicine made for kids, helps getting better easier!