Child Fever at Night: What Should I Do?
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Child Fever at Night: What Should I Do?

Fever is common in children, but high fever indicates serious illness and should be seen by a doctor. Parents must learn to recognize symptoms of distress and know when the child needs immediate treatment.

How serious is it?

If this is the first time he or she has had the fever, it may be the beginning of an illness. Fever often goes up late in the afternoon and at night. Normal temperature is 98.6º F. If the fever does not go over 102º it is probably safe to wait until morning to call the doctor.

If the child is crying, coughing, or has symptoms of a cold or pain with a low grade fever, you might lower the fever by giving him or her a lukewarm bath and give children’s acetaminophen or children’s ibuprophen. Do not use aspirin because it has been associated with Reyes Syndrome. Low grade fever is an indication that the child’s body is dealing with an infection or disorder. Many things cause fever that are not dangerous like teething. You may give the fever reducers for that.

How bad is bad? If the fever reaches 103º and any of the following conditions is present, call the doctor or take the child to an emergency room immediately.

•Constant vomiting or diarrhea

•Dry mouth

•Earache or pulling at ears

•Fever comes and goes over several days

•High-pitched crying


•No appetite

•Pale appearance


•Severe headache

•Skin rash

•Sore or swollen joints

•Sore throat

•Stiff neck

•Stomach pain

•Swelling of the soft spot on an infant’s head

•Unresponsiveness or limpness

•Wheezing or problems breathing

If the child is already being treated for an illness and the fever spikes during the night, he or she may have a far more serious problem. Even if treatment has begun, the child may get worse before the medicine takes effect. If high fever is accompanied by the above symptoms, call the doctor or go to the emergency room.

Learn to recognize your Child’s symptomsWith tiny babies don’t take any chances. Their bodies are so small that dehydration develops quickly when they have fever, and even quicker when they vomit repeatedly, do not take in fluid, or have diarrhea. Since they cannot tell you what hurts, it is better to go to the doctor unnecessarily than to wait too long.

As your children get older, you will learn to know the symptoms that mean severe distress. The sound of congested breathing or the look of distress in a child’s eyes are clues they may not understand, but you will. The fever may be an indication of the severity of the situation. Be sure to note all the symptoms and what he or she has eaten.

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Comments (1)
Ranked #3 in Fever

Good basic info for the non medicos.