A fever in children is quite common, and it’s not necessarily dangerous in most cases. A fever is considered 100.4 or higher, and it’s the body’s way of providing a defense from viruses or bacteria. To treat or not to treat and how is the question. Keep reading to learn a guide to treating your child’s fever.
When To Treat Your Child’s Fever
Watching your child’s behavior is key to knowing when to treat a fever. The number on the thermometer matters less than how your child looks or acts plus how long the fever has lasted. Not every fever needs treatment.
If you do decide to treat the fever, here are some guidelines:
- Tylenol or Motrin are common medications to reduce fever. Read ALL labels carefully.
- You can give Tylenol at any age, but ONLY Tylenol (acetaminophen) if your child is under 6 months old.
- Pay attention that you are giving appropriate doses based on weight.
- Be careful not to overmedicate.
- Alternating acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) is commonly recommended and safe.
- Keep your child hydrated even more than usual. Juice and popsicles will help also.
- Dress your child in light clothing.
- If a child is sleeping comfortably, there is NO reason to wake them for fever treatment.
Be aware that treating the fever will not cure any infection they are fighting. It simply relieves some of their discomfort. In most cases a fever will go away in a few days.
What NOT To Do
Never give children aspirin. Do not give your child a cool bath or it can cause shivering and increase their fever. Never, never use rubbing alcohol to reduce a fever. It is absorbed into the skin and can cause other problems including a coma.
When To Contact Pediatric Associates
- If your child is 3 months old or younger with a fever of 100.4, call your pediatrician.
- If your child has a fever of 104 or higher, and is NOT improved by medication, call our office.
- Showing signs of dehydration: no tears when crying, less frequent urination, dry mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, listlessness.
- Any significant behavior changes. Fussy and cries and can’t be soothed.
- Has an earache, sore throat, stiff neck, headache, or is vomiting with diarrhea.
If you have more questions or you are not sure what to do about your child’s fever, call Pediatric Associates.