Skip to main content

​When to Worry About a Child's High Fever

If my 3-year-old has a high fever, at what temperature should I take her to an emergency room?​


“Knowing what to do when a child has fever is among the most common challenges a caregiver faces,” says Sophie Lung, M.D., a board-certified physician specializing in Pediatrics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “In general, you should probably take a 3-year-old to an ER if their temperature rises above 104 degrees. However, your child’s symptoms may dictate your actions as much as their temperature.”

Dr. Lung says important symptoms may include breathing problems, vomiting, skin rash, sore throat, earache or listlessness, in addition to the fever.

“If other symptoms are present, and a child’s temperature rises above 102 degrees, it’s a good idea to contact your pediatrician and report on what you’ve observed,” she advises. “Should a fever-spike occur in the middle of the night, call your pediatrician’s after-hours service.”

Dr. Lung wants parents to know how easily a child can become dehydrated when running a fever. She emphasizes the importance of giving them plenty of fluids, along with fever-reducing medication, as directed by their pediatrician.

If an office visit is arranged, the doctor may request diagnostic tests to try and determine the cause of the fever.

“Monitoring a sick child’s temperature is important, but if your parental instinct tells you to get your child to the doctor, then respect your intuition,” concludes Dr. Lung, who cares for young patients at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – The Woodlands.​

Alternate Text
Sophie Lung, MD

​I enjoy the fact that I am not only caring for children, but giving them the tools they need to grow into healthy, young individuals. It is my hope that with this foundation, they can use what they've learned to become successful adults.​