Fever is the body’s natural way of fighting off an infection. When your child has a fever, her body is producing more white blood cells and antibodies that help fight the infection. However, if a fever gets too high it can cause serious problems.
A normal body temperature for a toddler is between 36 and 38 degrees Celsius. Anywhere above this is a fever; however, in most cases is not considered dangerous until it reaches 39.4 degrees Celsius. At that point, you should get your child to the doctor. But don’t just rely on the numbers. If your child’s fever is lower than 39.4 and they have other symptoms that are alarming such as severe diarrhoea, a rash, or severe vomiting, you should contact the doctor as well. Naturally, if your child has a fever and is having trouble breathing, call an ambulance immediately.
If a fever is too high, a child can have a febrile seizure in which he will get stiff, twitch, roll his eyes, and possibly vomit. A febrile seizure is scary to witness, but is generally harmless. If your child has a febrile seizure, you should also contact the doctor.
Fevers can also come on with no other symptoms. This can be especially frustrating to a parent. Some viral infections (such as roseola, sometimes called ‘baby measles’)) will start off with several days of high fevers before other symptoms appear. Additionally, several serious infections such as urinary tract infections, meningitis, and blood poisoning will produce a high fever without other symptoms. Therefore, if your child has an unexplained fever, you need to call the doctor.