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How long is it "acceptable" for a fever to continue til it needs medical attention?

My 2 year old had a fever of 102.6 yesterday and I took her to urgent care. They said it was just a virus and to keep pumping her up with tylenol and motrin. Well I've been alternating and everything since 9 am yesterday, it spiked to 103.4 in the evening, she had a rough night with the fever still in the 102's, and then today she got a little better. She ate breakfast and even went outside for a while, when she came back in her fever was down to 99.8. She fell asleep on the couch and it's back up to 101.5. I guess I'm asking when will the damn thing finally go away or do I need to go back to the doctor?


Asked by tnm786 at 1:28 PM on Aug. 13, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (11)
  • My DD, she's 2 1/2, just went through this! I read that a fever is usually a sign of an infection so if the fever persists for more than 2 days to take them to see their doctor. DD wouldn't even take the medication (fever reducers make the child more comfortable but they really aren't needed, especially if the child seems to be doing fine) but the fever went away on its own after two days. I figured if she was sick a third day, we'd take her to see her doctor to see if it was something more serious than a virus. But, the third day she was fine, no fever. Fevers themselves are a sign that your child is fighting something. The fever itself usually isn't cause for concern unless it hits 105. If your little one is still sick tomorrow, I would take her to a walk-in clinic. Maybe there is a bug going around. I think your daughter will be just fine but don't ignore those Mommy Instincts! =)


    Answer by MotherofIreland at 5:47 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • I think (I may be wrong!) that the rule is if the fever is unresponsive to medicine for over 24 hours or over 101.5 you should go to the doctor. I wouldn't recommend urgent care, though. Take her to her pediatrician. I would call the nurse line first and ask when they would like to see her. If it is a virus there really isn't much they can do other than keep an eye on her and make sure she is staying hydrated.

    Also, I have noticed that fevers always get higher in the evening and when you are asleep...

    Answer by Glowing4Caleb at 1:31 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • is she covered up for her nap?? that might be making her hotter. He fever seems to be going down. You can expect it to go up a down a bit. I personally would not have let her go outside to play after having such a fever the day before. She really needs rest and quiet. Letting her run around may have caused the fever to go back up again. Keep doing what you are doing and try to have her play quietly until the fever has been gone for 24 hours


    Answer by justgrape723 at 1:33 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • Give it a couple of days to go away on its own. The truth is that a fever in and of itself is a good means the body is fighting off a virus or infection (and doing it quite well). The only time a fever is really dangerous for a child that young is when it spikes really fast (goes from 98.6 to 104 in ten minutes) or gets dangerously high (104 or more). If the fever spikes, there is really nothing you can do about it - by the time any medication you give takes effect, the damage is already you really can't worry too much about it. I would keep alternating tylenol and motrin (overlapping the effective periods by about an hour...there is no harm in having both medications in your system at once...completely different ingredients that do not effect the same organs). If the fever doesn't break by day 3...I'd take her back to the could be an infection rather than a virus. Good Luck.

    Answer by ANGIE409 at 1:36 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • I would much rather take her to a pediatrician but we have tricare prime and we're still waiting for our pcm's to be switched so in the meantime we can only take her to urgent care or the ER. I know it wasn't the best idea to let her go out but I figured since she had an appetite and no vomiting in over 24 hours she'd be okay, plus the fever went way down after. It might be because she's sleeping but she's not covered and her face is red plus dry lips. I keep trying to make her drink but she's very stubborn! I have to force her to take atleast 1 sip every so many minutes to keep her hydrated.

    Answer by tnm786 at 1:37 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • If her lips are dry, she is becomming dehydrated. Even if it isn't water, use a cup of water with a splash of fruit juice or pedialyte. Something that she will drink. If you don't you will end up back in the ER and her hooked up to an IV! I know you dont want for that to happen!

    Answer by Glowing4Caleb at 1:40 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • No I sure don't! I bought some pedialyte today at the store, I have been giving her water and watered down juice, when she gets up I'll try the pedialyte. THANKS moms!!!! :)

    Answer by tnm786 at 1:42 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • if the fever was that high WITH tylenol I would say she needs to be seen by another doctor.

    Answer by laadeedah at 1:59 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • Instead of the tylenol/motrin piggyback, try some other ways of getting a fever down, like a cool bath, less clothing, lots and lots of fluids (water, popscicles, pedialyte, whatever). Sometimes fevers hang around longer when you use medications. We usually only give fever reducers when the fever gets too high (103) or if 1 of my kids is really uncomfortable, and at night so they can sleep.

    Answer by jubes at 2:28 PM on Aug. 13, 2009

  • every childis different my dd gets gets really high fever 104-106 and i literally have to dope her up or she has to be hospitalized. but sometimes she just get a fver of 101-102. i dont take her to the doc until it gets to 103. but sonce she ahs had fevreral sizures i do keep an extra eye on her.

    Answer by piwife at 2:32 PM on Aug. 13, 2009