Fever and Fever Control
Fever is very common in children of all ages. It is usually a sign of an infection, and it is thought to be helpful in fighting infection as well. In general, younger children tend to get fever more frequently, and are able to generate and tolerate a higher fever.
Fever itself is not dangerous (except when it is extremely high, above 106 * F). In general, if a child with fever feels great, it does not have to be brought down with medications or other measures. On the other hand, if a child becomes cranky, fussy, tired, listless, unable to eat or sleep well, the fever should be controlled. The higher the fever, the sicker the child tends to feel, therefore a very high fever is rarely missed.
In these cases of fever, we will urge you to seek medical care:
- If a child is 2 months of age or younger – go to the emergency room immediately
- If a child is between 2 and 6 months – see us within 24 hours of start of fever at the latest
- If a fever lasts more than 72 hours
- If there are no other symptoms besides fever
- If there is also one or more of the following symptoms: rash, sore throat, belly pain, earache, headache, vomiting, cough, or joint pain
- If a child feels or appears sick despite the use of over-the-counter pain and fever reducers
- If a child has a history of febrile seizures
The above list is not complete and is not intended to replace our medical advice, so please call or make an appointment to be seen if you have questions about your child.
Over-the-Counter Pain and Fever Control Products offer one of two active ingredients – Acetaminophen (in Feverall, Little Fevers, Pediacare, and others) or Ibuprofen (in Advil and others). Acetaminophen may be used every 4 hours if needed, and Ibuprofen every 6 hours if needed. It is best to stay away from Ibuprofen, if your child is not eating much. The two can be alternated if one is not enough to control fever or discomfort. You may administer a different medication 1 hour after the first, if you do not see the desired effect. Write down the times and the doses of each medicine.
*Aspirin should not be given to any child unless specifically prescribed by your doctor*
To find out a dose for your child we suggest that you:
- Know your child’s weight
- Ask your pediatrician or a pharmacist to advise you regarding the appropriate dosage
- Refer to Acetaminophen dosing chart [PDF]
- Refer to Ibuprofen dosing chart [PDF]
These charts reflect recent changes in products which may require you to give a different amount of medicine from what you gave before.
Non-medication methods to decrease fever and make the child feel better may be used instead of or in addition to the above mentioned medications:
- Undressing the child
- Giving the child a lukewarm bath
- Placing a cool rug on the forehead
Certain folk remedies or practices from various traditions are at times used by parents. While putting cloves of garlic inside socks seems benign, certain practices such as rubbing the skin down with alcohol are not recommended.