What Causes Fever in Children?

Q:
What causes fever in children?

A:
Fever remains the most common concern prompting parents to present their child to the emergency department. Fever has traditionally been defined as a rectal temperature over 100.4 F or 38 C.

Fever itself is not life-threatening unless it is extremely and persistently high, such as greater than 107 F (41.6 C) when measured rectally.

Fever may indicate the presence of a serious illness, but usually a fever is caused by a common infection, most of which are not serious. The part of the brain called the hypothalamus controls body temperature. The hypothalamus increases the body’s temperature as a way to fight the infection. However, many conditions other than infections may cause a fever.

Causes of fever include:

  • allergies
  • bacterial infections, such as scarlet fever, or rarely, rheumatic fever (both related to “strep throat”)
  • illicit drugs
  • illnesses related to heat exposure
  • medications
  • rarely, inflammatory diseases, like juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • viral infections, like influenza (the “flu”)

It is recommended that you consult a health care provider to determine the appropriate treatment for the fever of your child.

Keyword: child fever; fever toddler; fever toddlers

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.