Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fever Refresher: for the new kids on the block

If your child has a fever, (a temperature higher than normal) her body is fighting off an infection.  If you are not sure whether your child has an unusually high temperature, get a thermometer and check your child’s temperature.  Note that depending on the thermometer and which body part you use to check your child’s temperature, you will likely get different temperatures.  The most common methods of taking a child’s temperature is by armpit (axillaries), by mouth (oral), by ear (tympanic), and, rectal (needs no explanation). 

Not every fever requires medication.  For instance, if your child’s temperature is barely above normal and she is behaving as usual (playing, drinking fluids, eating), her body is fighting an infection and at this point, is winning.  If this is the case, pay attention to your child’s habits, recheck her temperature periodically, and keep offering fluids.  If your child has a high fever, has stopped drinking, and, playing, consider administering the appropriate dose of Tylenol or Motrin for your child’s age and weight.  Continue to offer your child fluids, use cool compresses, sponge bathing, and remove excessive clothing.  Excessive clothing inhibits your child’s body to fight the infection and bring her temperature down.  Note that if your efforts to reduce your child’s temperature cause shivering, remove compresses, and add clothing one layer at a time until shivering stops.

If your child has had a fever for over 24 hrs, is under 3 months of age, is vomiting, or having diarrhea, experiencing seizures, seek medical attention.

If you have questions concerning giving your child the proper medication at the correct dosage amount, seek advice from your child’s pediatrician or your pharmacist.  It is important to note that medications for infants, toddlers, older children, and adults contain differing amounts of medication.  Do not substitute one for the other or switch back and forth between formulations.

  • If you have concerns about your child’s health or medications, see your child’s pediatrician.  
  • The information in this blog is not intended to diagnose or treat medical problems. 

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