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While most fevers don’t require a call to me, there are certain circumstances when a fever could indicate something more serious.
A child older than 6 months of age who has a temperature below 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) probably does not need to be treated for fever, unless the child is uncomfortable. Observe his behavior. If he is eating and sleeping well and is able to play, you may wait to see if the fever improves by itself.
Ibuprofen should only be used for children older than 6 months of age. It should not be given to children who are vomiting constantly or are dehydrated. 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 unable to take medication by mouth, I may recommend a rectal suppository for your child. Acetaminophen suppositories can be effective in reducing fever in a vomiting child.
Read the label on all medications to make sure that your child receives the right dose for her age and weight. To be safe, talk to me before giving your child any medication to treat fever if she is younger than 2 years of age.
An alternative to over-the-counter medications is to sponge your child with lukewarm water. Sponging may reduce your child’s temperature as water evaporates from her skin. I can advise you on this method.
I might recommend that you try sponging your child with lukewarm water in cases such as the following:
Usually 5 to 10 minutes in the tub is enough time for a child’s temperature 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 remove her even if she has not been in long enough to reduce her temperature. Also remove her from the bath if she continues to shiver because shivering may increase body temperature.
Do not try to reduce your child’s temperature to normal too quickly. This could cause the temperature to rebound higher.
Be sure to call me if your child still “acts sick” once the fever is brought down, or if you feel that your child is very sick. Also call if the fever persists for