Well, first thing, don’t panic. A child with a fever is not necessarily a bad thing. You see, when you child encounters an illness, there is an increase in white blood cells, antibodies and many other cellular agents to help fight the infection. It is these events that cause an increase your child’s temperature. So, in essence, an increase in temperature indicates your child’s body is trying to rid it of the illness or infection he is facing.
And because it now sounds like a fever may be a good thing, does it have to be treated? Well, not necessarily. If your 2-year-old child is playful and in good spirits, then a little bit of fever can be left alone. If he appears uncomfortable, then ok to bring the fever down. A general rule of thumb I have is when the temperature is above 102, your child would probably benefit from reducing the fever. Below 102, it then becomes child dependent as some 2-year-olds may still be running around with a 101.5 temperature. And how to bring a temperature down? Fever-reducing medications (acetaminophen or ibuprofen), cool compresses to the forehead, armpit, or groin region (yes, I realize not always a simple thing to accomplish), and/or a lukewarm bath can be helpful.
And what about a 2-week or even a 2-month-old with a fever of 102? Well, this certainly deserves a bit more attention but bottom line, an immediate evaluation is in order. For the 2-week-old, expect an admission to the hospital and a full sepsis work-up whenever there is a temperature greater than 100.4. For the 2-month-old, the same work-up may not be necessary but an evaluation by your child’s health care provider is a must.