Fever is the body temperature higher than 38.5 °C/101.3 °F (measured in the rectum abate 0.5 ° C).
Treatment is needed when temperatures 38.5 °C/101.3 °F and higher.
For babies and young children at increased risk of febrile seizures. In this case, call your doctor.
Abdominal pain is always necessary to consult a doctor or nurse.
Do not give pain medication for tummy pain.
Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has a fever and
- Looks very ill, is unusually drowsy, or is very fussy
- Has been in a very hot place, such as an overheated car
- Has other symptoms such as a stiff neck, severe headache, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, an unexplained rash, or repeated vomiting or diarrhea
- Has immune system problems such as sickle cell disease or cancer, or is taking steroids
- Has had a seizure
- Is younger than 2 months and has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
Treating your child’s fever
If your child is older than 6 months and has a temperature below 101°F (38.3°C), she probably does not need to be treated for the fever unless she is uncomfortable. Watch her behavior. If she is eating and sleeping well and is able to play, you may wait to see if the fever improves by itself.
What you can do
- Keep her room comfortably cool.
- Make sure that she is dressed in light clothing.
- Encourage her to drink fluids such as water, diluted juices, or a store-bought electrolyte solution.
- Be sure that she does not overexert herself.
How to reduce a fever with medicine
Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) and ibuprofen are safe and effective medicines for reducing fevers. They do not need a prescription and are available at grocery stores and drugstores. However, keep the following in mind:
- Do not use aspirin to treat your child’s fever. Aspirin has been linked with side effects such as an upset stomach, intestinal bleeding and, most seriously, Reye syndrome.
- If your child is vomiting and cannot take anything by mouth, a rectal suppository may be needed. Paracetamol come in suppository form and can help reduce a fever in a vomiting child.
- Before giving your child any medicine, read the label to make sure that you are giving the right dose for his age and weight. Also, if your child is taking other medicines check the ingredients. If they include paracetamol or ibruprofen, let your child’s doctor know. To be safe, talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child any medicine to treat a fever if he is younger than 2 years.
How to reduce a fever with sponging
Your child’s doctor may recommend that you try sponging your child to reduce a fever if
- Your child’s temperature is above 104°F (40°C).
- Your child is vomiting and unable to take any medicine.
Use lukewarm water, not cold water. Cold water can cause shivering and increase the temperature. Never add rubbing alcohol to the water. Rubbing alcohol can be absorbed into the skin or inhaled, causing serious problems such as a coma.
Usually 5 to 10 minutes in the tub is enough time for a child’s fever to start dropping. If your child becomes upset during the sponging, simply let her play in the water. If she is still bothered by the bath, it is better to take her out even if she has not been in long enough to reduce the fever. Also remove her from the bath if she continues to shiver because shivering can raise her temperature.
Do not try to reduce a fever too quickly. This could cause it to rebound higher.
Be sure to call your child’s doctor if your child still “acts sick” once her fever is brought down, or if you feel that your child is very sick. Also call if the fever persists for
- More than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years
- More than 3 days in a child 2 years of age or older