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When should I worry about my child having a fever? Dr. Mallika Marshall answers your questions

When should I worry about my child having a fever?
When should I worry about my child having a fever? 01:24

BOSTON - Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your medical questions. If you have a question, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter.

Mercedes in Chelsea asks, "My child had a temperature of 103 last night. Isn't that dangerous?

Kids get lots of infections like upper respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and strep throat that often trigger a fever, usually defined as 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. But I always tell parents that fever itself is almost never dangerous. It's the body's way of fighting off infection, which is a good thing.

So rather than focusing on your child's temperature, focus on their behavior. There are signs and symptoms that should always be concerning to parents, with or without fever, and should prompt medical attention right away, such as dehydration, trouble breathing, severe pain, confusion, lethargy, a stiff neck, or an unusual rash.

The one caveat is babies under 3 months of age. They have immature immune systems, so a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees should always be evaluated by a healthcare professional to make sure there isn't a serious infection.

Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.         

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