How to Manage A Fever

By Dr. Ken Finkel, MD FRCP (C) DCH on March 15, 2007
A fever, itself, is not harmful. What counts is the cause. You don't have to give your child anything for the fever just because it is there.

A sick child's fever is usually highest from about 6 in the evening till 3 in the morning. If the fever is gone by the evening, your child will almost certainly not have a temperature the next day.

Indications for Treating the Fever:

1. If the child has had a previous febrile convulsion.
2. If the fever is making the child irritable and uncomfortable. If the fever makes the child sleepy and relaxed it can be left alone as long as the child is taking adequate fluids.

What to Do

Encourage heat to leave the body.
  • Try to keep the room cool and the humidity low.
  • Have a steady movement of air.
  • Keep your child undressed or in very light clothing.

Remember that your child can lose heat only through the skin when it is hot and flushed. If your child's body feels cool or is shivering, wrap the child until the skin is hot again, otherwise none of these techniques will work. Do not put the child in a cold bath.

Medications

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are available for children's fever. Talk to your doctor about which medication to give your child.

Aspirin is no longer advisable for children's viral illnesses because of the risk of Reye's Syndrome.

Dosage

General dosage outlines for ibuprofen and acetaminophen are provided by the manufacturer. Paediatricians prescribe a dose of 15 milligrams of the drug for each kilogram the child weighs:
  • A 10 kg baby would get 150 mgs.
  • A 15 kg 3-year-old would get 225 mgs.

The maximum dose for any child would be a full adult dose of 500 mgs. The medication may not be effective if the dose is too small for the child's weight.
  • Wait for one hour for the full effect.
  • Do not repeat the dose for at least 8 hours (for ibuprofen) or 4 hours for (acetaminophen).
  • Repeat only if the indications for treating the fever have returned.
  • If the fever persists for more than 72 hours, check with your doctor.


Content provided by The Canadian Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia.


By Dr. Ken Finkel, MD FRCP (C) DCH| March 15, 2007

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