When you're a parent, fevers are scary, especially if you have an infant or small children.  Fevers aren't illness themselves, but a symptom of illness. It can be hard to determine when to leave a fever to do its job and when to treat it. A low fever isn't dangerous, and will help your child fight whatever illness she has. But as a fever gets higher, your child is at risk of experiencing febrile seizures and other complications. For parents, when it comes to fevers, a little knowledge goes a long way.

According to KidsHealth, a fever is when a person's temperature reaches 99.5 degrees when taken orally, 100.4 degrees when taken rectally, and 99 degrees when taken under the arm.

  • For babies up to 3 months old, you should always call the doctor if she has a fever above 100.4 F, even if she doesn't have any other symptoms.
  • For babies ages 3-6 months, if her fever is less than 102 F, ensure she gets lots of fluids and is comfortable. Medication is not necessary according to the Mayo Clinic. If she is lethargic or overly irritable, call the doctor. Always call the doctor if her fever surpasses 102 degrees.
  • For children 6 months — 2 years, if her fever is more than 102 F, give her plenty to drink along with children's Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin for comfort. Check the label for dosage, and call the pediatrician if you are unsure how much to give. Do not give aspirin to children. Call the doctor if the fever doesn't respond to medication or lasts longer than one day.
  • For children 2 — 17 years of age, if her fever is under 102 F, give your child rest and fluids. Medication is not needed, but call the doctor if she becomes lethargic, irritable or complains of discomfort. For fevers over 102 degrees F, give your child Tylenol, Advil or Motrin. Do not give aspirin to children and be sure not to overdose your child by giving her more than one medication that contains acetaminophen (such as cough and cold medicines plus Tylenol). Check the label for dosage and if you are unsure, call the doctor before giving. Call the doctor if the fever doesn't respond to medication or lasts for more than two days.

Always call the doctor if your child doesn't seem right to you including drowsiness, irritability, or if she is lethargic. In addition, if your child has an underlying health condition or a weakened immune system, call the doctor right away. If a rash, sore throat, headache, stiff neck, earache or seizure occur with a fever, call the doctor.

More often than not, our children will develop low fevers with an illness and come through just fine without any medication. Monitoring a fever is very important, as is keeping your child home from school or daycare and keeping her comfortable, rested, and hydrated.