Your Child or Baby Has a Fever, Now What?
Tips for managing childhood fever
What kind of medicine should I use?
I recommend parents try Tylenol (acetaminophen) first. If the fever does not go down after 30 to 45 minutes and the child is uncomfortable, parents can then give an appropriate dose of ibuprofen. Then, parents should stick with the single medication that worked best rather than alternate medicines.
Giving too much medication can be very dangerous. To avoid overdosing, parents should write down when medication was given, what type, and how much, especially for those doses given in the middle of the night or if there is more than one sick child in the house. While acetaminophen is one of the safest medications available when taken properly, acetaminophen poisoning is not uncommon and is a leading reason why children undergo liver transplants.
What’s the best dosage for my child?
Fever-reducing medications come in different strengths. Infant drops are extremely concentrated and require less medication to treat a child. Whether the medication comes with a dropper or cup, always use the measuring device that comes with the medication. Be very cautious about using cold medicines, which often also contain either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. We doctors don’t recommend these combination medications as the cold products don’t work in children younger than two and there’s the potential for overdosing—in fact, a November 2007 recall prompted the removal of many infant cough and cold medicines from store shelves. Read all medicine labels very carefully.
Check these medical dosage charts for the appropriate amounts for your child:
Be sure to call your doctor or local pharmacist for simple dosage questions.
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