What should I do if my child has a small fever
Frank Benes, MD, is the Emergency Department medical director at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz.
Question: My child has a low fever, what should I watch for?
Answer: Fever is a common reason for parents to bring a child to the emergency department. Below are some important facts to keep in mind when your child has a fever:
- Take a minute to see how your child is acting - If your child is over 6 months, has a fever under 101F and is acting mostly normal despite the fever, don’t give medicine. A low fever helps the body fight infection. If your child is miserable, however, treat the fever.
- Give acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) or ibuprofen (brand names Motrin, Advil) - Generic is okay. Follow the dosing guidelines on the bottle. NEVER give aspirin to a child with a fever!
- Give a warm bath - As warm water runs over your child’s body and evaporates, it helps bring down a fever.
- Encourage lots of fluids - It is okay if a sick child doesn’t want to eat – they’ll eat again when they feel better. However, it is very important they don’t get dehydrated.
- Don’t give over-the-counter cough or cold medicines unless specifically approved by your doctor - Many of these medicines don’t work in kids and have side effects.
- The fever often comes back when the medicine wears off - Fever medicines don’t treat infections, so this is normal.