A mother checking her son for a fever with a thermometer

How Long to Expect Fever in Children with the Flu

As a parent, you want your kids always to be healthy and happy. The reality, however, is that they come in contact with a lot of germs, leaving them ill all too often. This is only amplified during flu season. 

While there are many different symptoms that can arise when little ones have the flu, the one that seems to worry parents the most is a fever. As they rise, so can the level of concern. 

So, how long should you expect a fever to last in children with the flu? And when should you seek medical treatment? 

Let’s talk about it. 

Symptoms of the Flu

It is important to recognize that the flu can appear differently for each individual. For some, it may be more mild than others. A few of the most common symptoms include: 

  • Headache 
  • Stuffy nose
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Sneezing

And, of course, a fever is almost always present in cases of the flu. 

What is a Fever? 

When the body temperature rises higher than what is considered normal, it is referred to as a fever. There are a few different reasons why a body temperature may rise, but it is often due to an infection, whether viral or bacterial. For instance, fevers are often a symptom of an illness, such as the flu. 

Most pediatricians consider temperatures of 100.4°F and higher to be indicative of a fever. 

How Long Does a Fever Last with the Flu?

Typically, it takes about a week for an average, healthy child to get over the flu. Symptoms usually begin to dissipate as the week goes on, except for fatigue or cough that may stick around a little longer. 

Fevers (including the chills and body aches that go along with them) usually only last about 2 to 4 days — but it is possible for them to last about a week or so. 

Caring For Your Child’s Fever at Home

Fevers are no fun, especially when dealing with other flu symptoms. The good news is that there are a few things you can do at home to help your child get through it a bit easier, including:

  • Make sure your child is staying hydrated
  • Dress your child in lightweight clothing — do not cover them in heavy blankets
  • Use over-the-counter fever reducers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be sure to read the directions for the proper dosage or, if you are unsure, contact your pediatrician
  • Avoid cold or hot baths

Most importantly, let your child rest as it will encourage healing within the body. 

When Does a Fever Become an Emergency?

How the flu will impact your child can vary greatly. Sometimes it can come and go without much downtime at all. Other times, your child may be at risk of developing symptoms that require immediate treatment by a medical professional. 

A few flu symptoms that could indicate a more serious situation include: 

  • Difficulty breathing, including rapid breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Chest pain
  • Pale, blue-ish skin
  • Not interactive or overly alert when awake
  • Persistent cough
  • Severe muscle pain

When does a fever become an emergency? You should contact your child’s pediatrician or seek medical attention if the fever reaches 104°F or if any fever does not respond to fever reducers or lasts more than a few days. Note: If your baby is younger than 3 months and has a fever of any degree, seek medical attention. 

Advocare Haddon Pediatric Group provides medical services for children from birth through early adulthood. Contact us today to learn more about our practice and schedule an appointment.