July 02, 2015

Q: When should you call the doctor for a fever?

A: Your child officially has a fever when the thermometer reads 100.4 F. or higher, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When it warrants a call to your doctor, however, varies by age: - If your child is under 2 months, call if his temperature is 100.4 F - If your child is 3 to 6 months, call if his temperature is 101 F - If your child is over 6 months, call if his temperature is 103 F You should also call the doctor if your child is lethargic, irritable, has a sore throat or ear or stomach pain, regardless of how high or low her fever is, since how your child acts and feels is usually a better indicator of how sick she is than temperature alone. In fact, if your child has a high fever that doesn't necessarily mean she's sicker than if she has a low-grade one. (Can't find any obvious source of infection? That also warrants a call.) And always get help immediately if you have a feverish baby under 3 months old, no matter what her symptoms are. Infants that young are more susceptible to certain types of infections, so your pediatrician needs to rule out serious illnesses right away. --Avery Hurt

Originally published in Parents magazine, October 2007. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team