CBS News This Morning medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay gave us this report on fevers and children.
A fever is not an illness but a symptom of an illness.
As such, managing it and watching its progress and response to medication can determine whether you need to call the pediatrician.
Keeping that in mind, there are four simple steps you need to know when measuring your child's fever:
First, you need to check the temperature of the child with a thermometer.
Then, you need to assess the child for other symptoms.
Next, do everything you can to lower the temperature.
Finally, monitor the child's behavior and fever in the process.
Your number one tool in this process is the thermometer. Once, the standard thermometer ruled - the big difference being whether it was an oral, rectal, or under-the-arm model. Now, there are many more high-tech models that are quicker and easier to read.
Digital thermometers, for use in a child's ear, are the fastest and most accurate, and certainly are easier on both the child and the parent.
The trick is making sure it is properly set. Some models feature settings for "adult" or "child," "infant," or "toddler." Using the wrong setting means reading the wrong temperature.
Once you know your child has a fever, you may need tools beyond the thermometer to fight it.
Look at the symptoms to evaluate whether you should use medicine to bring down the fever. Acetaminophen can be used for most fevers. But you might want to use ibuprofen, since it lasts eight hours and will give your ailing child a night's rest.
Have your child drink plenty of fluids. Keep a "sippy" cup within reach along with lots of water or juice.
A cool, wet cloth placed on the child's head can help bring down the fever.
Finally, keep a notebook handy to record a log of temperature readings and any medicine you may have administered. Aside from your own reference, it can be good to have in front of you when speaking with a pediatrician.