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Everything You Need to Know About Fever

When to call the doctor

The American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations depend on the child's age and rectal temperature:

2 months or younger: 100.4°F or higher, even if he shows no other symptoms of illness. "Go to the emergency room if you have to," says Charles Shubin, M.D., director of Children's Health Center at Mercy FamilyCare, in Baltimore. "In the early weeks of life, babies have a limited ability to fight illness as their immune system isn't fully developed."

3 to 6 months: 101°F or higher.

Over 6 months: 103°F or higher.

Call your doctor if your feverish child of any age develops any other symptoms  -- such as an earache, a rash, swollen glands, or trouble breathing.

Febrile seizures can occur when a child's temperature soars too quickly. While these are frightening for you, they are rarely serious. The child may stiffen, roll up his eyes, or shake. If your child has one, lay him on the floor or a bed away from sharp objects. Never force a spoon or any object into his mouth. If the seizure lasts less than a minute, as they often do, call your doctor as soon as it's over. If the seizure lasts longer than a minute, call 911.

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