A parent may overreact if a child develops a fever.

Site Where Temperature Taken

Temperature Defining Fever


> 38°C


> 37.8°C


> 37.2°C


Neurologic sequelae from fever are rare for temperatures < 41.7°C (107°F).


A parent who has unrealistic or exaggerated misconceptions about fever and its complications is said to have a fever phobia.


Consequences of fever phobia:

(1) excessive therapy with antipyretic medications, which can result in overdosage

(2) frequent visits to the Emergency Department or pediatrician's office

(3) excessive distress during a child's illness

(4) treatments such as sponging with cold water which may be uncomfortable for the child


It is important for the clinician to be able to distinguish simple fever from a hyperthermic emergency. The latter requires aggressive management to reduce the core body temperature. Fortunately a hyperthermic emergency is uncommon.


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