How To Reduce Fever

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As a father I find it extremely frustrating and stressful when my children get fevers.  Knowing that my children are not well makes it difficult for me to relax or focus on much.  Fevers are caused by infections in the body which elicit a natural response of raising the body's core temperature to fight against the infection.  Fevers are a symptom.  I am not here to claim I know everything about fevers, because I don't, however the U.S. National Library of Medicine is an excellent resource to inform yourself about fevers in general.  To learn more about fevers you can visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Taking A Temperature Reading

Despite what you may have heard or read, according to Cigna's website, medical research has not determined an exact correlation between oral, rectal, ear, or forehead temperature measurements.  You can of course read more on Cigna's post, Fever Temperatures: Accuracy and Comparison.  I personally have grown fond of the temporal thermometers, mainly because it is taken instantly, easy to use with fussy or uncooperative children, and it's used by healthcare professionals in hospitals and in the pediatrician's offices.  I use the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer MODEL# TAT-2000C which is under $30 on Amazon.

Treatment

When your child gets a fever your first instinct as a parent should be to reduce your child’s fever.  You can either attempt to reduce your child's fever with or without over the counter medicine.  If you choose to administer over the counter fever reducers here is a dosing chart sourced from Pediatric Associates of NYC:

Infants & Children's Dosing Chart
Weight Acetaminophen Infant/Children's 160mg/5ml (4-8hrs as needed) Ibuprofen Infant 50mg/1.25ml (6-8hrs as needed) Ibuprofen Children's Liquid 100mg/5ml 6-8hrs as needed)
6-8 lbs 1.25ml NA NA
9-11 lbs 1.875ml NA NA
12-17 lbs 2.5ml 1.25ml 2.5ml
18-23 lbs 3.75ml 1.875ml 3.75ml
24-35 lbs 5ml 2.5ml 5ml
36-47 lbs 7.5ml 3.75ml 7.5ml
48-59 lbs 10ml NA 10ml
60-71 lbs 12.5ml NA 12.5ml
72-95 lbs 15ml NA 15ml

Important Note: If your child is younger than 3 months old and has a fever of 100 or higher you should call a pediatrician.  If your child is 3-5 months old you should call a pediatrician if their temperature reaches or exceeds 101.  If your child is 6 months or older you should call a pediatrician if they get a fever that reaches 102.

Reducing Fever with Medication

If you decide to reduce your child's fever with over the counter medicine it is always wise to read and adhere to the directions on the box.  Sometimes these directions can seem vague and incomplete, if you ever feel this way do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician.  When it comes to medication you always want to error on the side of caution.  If you contact a Pediatrician's office they will more than likely say that a nurse will call you back.  This is standard practice as nurses are tending to patients in the office.  If you do not receive a call back within an hour of the office closing call them back.

It's not always easy to administer medicine to babies and children.  If they are not feeling well they may not want to ingest the medicine, if this is the case you may need to get creative.  See our post 5 Creative Techniques To Get Your Babies To Take Medicine.  When you speak to a nurse or pediatrician, find out if your child can take Fever Reducing Suppositories.  These are great when your child does not want to take medication.  My only suggestion with suppositories is to add a tiny bit of petroleum jelly on and around the suppositories so they slip into the rectum easier.  This is how it was administered at a reputable urgent care facility by professionals.

The FDA has very useful information to help understand the safe administration of Acetaminophen, please read Reducing Fever in Children: Safe Use of Acetaminophen as this will help with any additional questions you may have.

Reducing Fever without Medication

If you choose to reduce your child's fever without medication you can do any or all of the following:

Placing Cool Damp Cloth on Forehead: This method has been around for ages.  Just use a damp washcloth and place it on your child's head.  You can also use a product like BeKoool from Kobayashi Care.  Yup, three o's.  Probably for the "ooo" sound you will indubitably make after trying it for yourself.  These are small gel sheets have a slight adhesive side so when you apply them to the forehead they stay.  You can also cut them to size before applying so they are customized to the size of your child's forehead.  They are inexpensive and good to have around the house.  You can buy the Be Koool Soft Gel Sheets For Kids Pack of 3 on Amazon or find them at your local pharmacy.  These are indeed cool!

A Lukewarm Bath: you don't want to give your child a bath in cold water as this will cause them to shiver and body temperature will likely rise.  Instead a bath in lukewarm temperature water will help cool their body temperature gradually.

Keep Child Hydrated: you want to make sure that your baby is still eating regularly to stay hydrated.

Reduce Clothing Layers: in attempting to reduce your child's temperature it is a good idea to make sure they do not have too many layers on.  Try to cool the house by turning on fans or reducing the ambient temperature of the living space.

You can read more about reducing your child's fever without using medication by reading Pediatrician Jennifer Shu’s post on babycenter.com.

Final Thought

As with any wellness concern you have regarding your child, you should seek professional advice.  Speaking with your child’s pediatrician should always be your primary source of information.  If you are unable to speak or schedule time with a pediatrician it is good to know that there are free 24 hour nurses hotlines available for pediatric help.  Nurses will ask questions about your child’s symptoms and make recommendations based on their professional opinions.  These hotlines are a lifesaver when your child gets a 104.2 fever at 2:00a.m. and your cognitive ability to search the net begins to falter.  If at anytime the nurse feels that the child’s wellbeing is in danger they will recommend visiting urgent care or an emergency room.  Always trust your instinct.

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