Parents often have what I call "fever phobia."
They are worried, particularly as the night begins, that their child is going to run a high fever and they are not going to know what to do. They've all heard rumors, from grandparent, relatives, and other friends, that fever can be dangerous and cause brain damage.
Some of this may be attributable to the fact that there is a group of children, usually under the age of four, usually male, and usually a family history of febrile convulsions; who, with a high fever, will have a seizure. The good news is that all of these children, not necessarily the parents, are completely normal after the convulsion. They will outgrow these seizures when they are four or five.
The followup studies have shown that they are not at an increased risk for epilepsy or subsequent seizure or any type of intellectual impairment if their development was normal up until that point in time.
The other point that we tend to use fever is physicians need to know if the fever has been going on for three or four days. It's really not the height of the fever that's a problem. If the fever persists for more than three or four days will need to be in contact with the physician or need to come into the office.