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Treating fevers in children

Tips on what to watch for, how to use medications and when to call a doctor.

March 06, 2011

What parents and other caregivers should know about treating fevers in children:

• Call the doctor if an infant under 3 months of age has a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (based on rectal or temporal artery thermometers). For children ages 3 to 6 months, a fever of more than 101.5 degrees may warrant a call.

• In general, a fever of less than 103 degrees is not worrisome except in infants.

• Fever-related seizures usually occur in fevers higher than 102 degrees and usually on the first day of the fever.

• Children needing fever-reducing medications should be given ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Use a pharmacy-issued measuring device and read the instructions carefully.

• Keep track of the child's temperature throughout the day and write down the type of medication given, dosage and time of administration. Bring this information with you if you take the child to a doctor or emergency room.

• Don't give tepid baths or alcohol baths to treat fever.

• Keep a feverish child hydrated.

• Check with the pediatrician about what kind of thermometer to use and how to use it. The choice of thermometer may depend on the age of the child. Don't use mercury thermometers.

• Store fever-reducing medications in a place where children can't access them.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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