How High?

Updated on June 28, 2010
R.K. asks from Warren, MA
19 answers

How high do you moms let your kids' temps get before calling the doctor? My oldest has a fever and is tired. He was seen this morning because those are his only symptoms and at the time his temp was 101.2 and it has been holding steady w/ Motrin and tylenol and pops and ice cold drinks. It has jumped to 103.6 and hasn't come down after more motrin, cool clothe on the back of the neck, a tepid bath. I don't know when I should call them again or how high I should let it get before I call them again. He is miserable. The only other time he has ever acted sick was when he had the h1n1 flu. He has had pneumonia a few times and it didn't phase him, bronchitis and RSV and was still acting like himself.

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So What Happened?

Diane w/ his asthma a cold can turn to pnuemonia quite fast with him so thats why he's had it so much.

I am keeping an eye on him today but he seems a little more like himself. Thank You everyone.

He had what looked like a small bug bite on his back. Well it was huge this afternoon. We recently got back from the ER and he is on antibiotics for cellulitis

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answers from Seattle on


If I can't get it under 103 with tylenol+ibuprofen I call. Usually I can drop it to 101ish with just one. Regardless... I don't eradicate the fever, just drop it to 101ish. 102 ish and I hit it with the 2nd fever reducer.

If he has a lowgrade fever for more than 3 days, on day 4 I call in the morning and bring him in.

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answers from Honolulu on

You can just put a call in to your Ped. or page them. And most definitely if the fever rises to 103 or more. And ask what to do.

Keep in mind about fevers:
1) Tylenol or Motrin does NOT "cure" the illness.. .it only brings down the fever and ease discomfort. The fever will return.. .if the child is still sick.
Tylenol/Motrin only brings down the fever. Temporarily.

2) A fever, indicates illness or infection of some kind. It also serves to burn out the virus... as the body's temp rises.. .it makes it inhabitable for the virus etc.
BUT... watch that the fever does not get too high... then you do need to bring it down... via Tylenol or Motrin... or a cool tepid bath... or, cold towels/ice packs on his Forehead/arm pits/knee pits.

3) Keep taking his temp regularly. I check my kids every hour or less.

4) a thermometer... depending which kind, will be 2-3 degrees difference. ie: a arm pit temp.. is typically 3 degrees less, than a rectal thermometer etc.

5) your son is miserable. Sometimes in conjunction with a fever, the person will also get, headaches, 'chills', and fluctuate between being too hot or cold (ie: chills).

6) Do not overheat him... if he is hot and with a fever. Don't put blankets on him in other words, if he is hot.

7) Fevers can indicate viral or bacterial infection.

take him to the Doctor, or urgent care center if it is off hours. Or ER. If he gets worse.

But put in a call to your Pediatrician, or page him/her.

And, look for other symptoms, if it gets worse or new symptoms presents itself.

Keep him hydrated, with cool liquids.

For me, when my kids have fevers... I watch it and take their temp frequently... I also let the fever go. Meaning I do not give Tylenol/Motrin unless it gets too high... I let the fever do its thing. And to get a more accurate temp.
When I do take them to the Doctor, and the kid is under Tylenol or Motrin, the temp reading will not reflect an accurate temp... because it will have been lowered, temporarily, by the Tylenol/Motrin.

all the best,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

That would be high enough to take him in in my opinion. Don't you love Fridays?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

That is absolutely not normal and I can't believe your doctor didn't do any blood tests. Take him to the ER. An exceptionally high temp can cause major health problems and if motrin isn't helping at this point, there is something going on.



answers from Redding on

Little kids can run scary fevers that just come and go. Keep in mind that fevers are elevated at night.
In my opinion, if it hits 103, you need to call someone or get him in especially if you can't get the fever down.

I hate to say it, but I have a friend who won't let her child go to school if his temp is 99. Which is only .4 degrees above normal. That kid missed almost entire year of school and went to university hospitals, etc to find out there was nothing wrong. But, Mom was convinced there was because of his ongoing "fever". A kid who can ride bikes and jump on trampolines should not miss school for 99. But, 103 is another story.
I really would call or try to get him into urgent care.
Little kids handle fevers better than adults, but I wouldn't mess with a fever this high. He may have some type of infection that requires antibiotics.
You won't know unless you take him in, but I wouldn't wait.

I wish you the best.



answers from St. Cloud on

Was he willing to stay in the tub for awhile??? That's what usually shows the most improvement for our kids...... But we don't give Tylenol until they reach 104 either. So they rarely get it so it works very quickly when they do. (Only had it probably 5 times total between our 5 and 3 year old.) We just give juice (slightly watered down) with ice and cool cloths and the bath. And let them camp out on the couch with movies (which is also a treat!)

If you're worried, just call! That's what they are there for! It's nice to have them reassure you or to tell you to come in if they feel it's necessary.



answers from Fort Wayne on

Our doc says a temp over 104 is worth a call. There is a nasty nasty virus going around right now that has a high fever and sore throat. It lasts for about a week, with most of those days having high fevers. My youngest daughter had it and it was followed by a rash (determined to be roseola), my oldest had it and it was followed by a nasty bout of sever diarrhea. I would suggest to just keep doing what you're doing. Give him popsicles, frozen fruit, etc. Lots and lots of WATER to drink, avoid the pop and juice. Set a fan up to blow on him too. I know some people alternate ibuprofen and acetametophine (sp), but we were told to never do that. Just let him rest as much as he wants. He'll probably feel beat up for a few days. If he starts complaining of a sore throat, you might want to have him checked for strep.



answers from Houston on

It partially depends on the age of your son and if he can communicate if he is feeling worse. It is a worth a call to get some direction...every doctor has a different guideline.

I don't usually treat a fever until 102 (because that is when the barfing starts for my daughter). It sounds like you are doing everything you can to keep him comfortable, but sometimes these things just have to run their course.



answers from Norfolk on

awe poor thing. it sounds like your doing eveything they tell ya,i call if its over 101 and will not move or keeps going up...hang in there



answers from Boston on

Motrin or Tylenol should knock your child's fever down to the near-nonexistent point...the one time they didn't work for my son (who was two), we wound up at the emergency room three times in three days (his temp at it's highest was 104.7), and the THIRD doctor we saw finally told me we needed to up his dose to the next level. We had been using infant drops (as per the instructions), but he needed to be given Children's Tylenol as it has a larger dose of medicine.

The manufacturer's of these medicine's have written the instructions to dose by age, when they should be written to go by weight, as that is the determining factor as to whether a dose will be too small to be effective or large enough to be dangerous.

My advise would be to call your doctor, explain that the medicine isn't working - and ask if you should be using a larger dose. Your son may be having the same problem mine did - falling in the age bracket for one dosage, but having a weight that requires a different dosage.



answers from Davenport on

103 - I would be making a trip to the ER.



answers from Detroit on

Call your doctor. Once you get close to 104-105, there can be serious side effects.



answers from Denver on

When in doubt- call. He's your baby and that's a pretty decent jump in temp in my opinion. Your pediatrician is there to care for your child's health. Make use of that resource.



answers from Hartford on

I feel your pain, I only call when my LO is acting sick and not herself as that is what the dr. said. but this week her temp was 105.7!!!!! I called and they gave me the same 'cure' that you are doing but she is not really getting better just going from 100-103. I am heartbroken and nuts I am going to call agian in the am. I think though that there is nothing they can do for her really just an IV which she does not really need bc she is nursing a lot, drinking water too and having wet diapers. above all if you are worried just call. it is their job to take care of you, but I just feel your pain and hope our LO's get better so fast. xo



answers from Boston on

I call if it gets to 104. For high fevers I dose with tylanol and then 3 hours later with motrin. I keep in that schedule so the meeds peak at different times in his system. The important thing is if he will drink for you and stay hydrated. The fevers are always worse at night. You ped may have a night nurse service if you just want to call for advice. Hope your guy feels better soon!



answers from Boston on

Follow your instincts! Call if you are concerned - As you noted, it is his behavior and misery in combination with the fever that continues to concern you. Good Luck!


answers from Phoenix on

i'd say 103 is grounds for Urgent Care too! thats pretty hot. 100-102 is manageable at home after that i'd be worried.



answers from Providence on

my doctor told me to pay more attention to the behavior of the child rather than the number. He said he would be more worried about an extremely lethargic 100 degree fever than a 105 who still is even somewhat happy. Call though so at least they can ask the right questions. Also, a fever that high should be addressed with the solutions you mentioned, however as S.H. stated, fevers actually have a purpose. I can't tell you how many times my kids have started with fevers and as long as they have been relatively comfortable I don't treat it with Tylenol or Motrin, and by the next day, thankfully, they are 100% fine. I give the meds only when they really need it - for example to be comfortable enought to sleep. I also just noticed that you asked this question two days ago~oops! Well, maybe it will help somebody...I hope yours is all better by now.



answers from Providence on

I'd call the doctor now.

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