The Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Children’s Fevers
Note: This guest post is by Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician and mom of two children. She is partnering with Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, makers of Children’s Advil®, this cold and flu season on a fever education program.
With cold and flu season underway, many parents will have concerns when caring for their sick, feverish children. New national surveys of parents and pediatricians reveal that the actions many parents take to alleviate their child’s fever are not always in line with the most current recommendations made by doctors. Recently, the makers of Children’s Advil® conducted two online surveys, one given to 1,000 parents to find out how they treated their children’s fevers and a follow-up survey given to 250 pediatricians on their views of parents’ misperceptions and where education was needed. Based on the “Dose of Reality” study, follow the advice below to treat your child’s fever in safe ways.
1) Dose based on weight. The preferred way to dose a children’s fever reducer is to dose based on your child’s weight, yet more than one-third of parents (36 percent) surveyed dose based on their child’s age. Follow the dosing instructions on the medicine label, but if your child’s age and weight don’t match up, follow the weight dose. If you don’t know your child’s weight, follow the age dose.
2) Use a long lasting fever-reducing medication. Remember that the main goal of giving your child a fever reducer is to make him more comfortable, not to bring the temperature down to normal. It’s important to consider how long a medication will last. For example, products containing ibuprofen (like Children’s Advil®) provide up to eight hours of relief with just one dose.
3) Wait 24 hours after the fever breaks before sending a child back to school or daycare. More than half of the parents surveyed admitted to sending their child back to class less than 24 hours after the fever broke. Pediatricians advise that parents keep their child home from school or daycare until the she is fever-free for at least 24 hours.
1) Worry. Fever is the body’s normal response to an underlying infection and parents should talk to the pediatrician about the proper treatment. Definitely call the doctor if: a child is under three months of age and has a fever of 100 degrees or more; a child has a high fever over 103 degrees; or a child has had a persistent fever for more than a few days.
2) Give adult medication to a child. Nearly a quarter of the parents from the survey gave their child an adult over-the-counter medication and estimated the dose. This is dangerous. Children are not mini-adults and should only be given medication that has been formulated for them, unless specifically advised by the pediatrician.
3) Wake a child at night just to give fever medication. Pediatricians believe that feverish children who are sleeping comfortably should not be awakened to take fever medication. Instead, close monitoring is a good idea and parents should always check with the pediatrician.
More about treating your children’s symptoms on Parents.com
- 8 Medication Mistakes Parents Make
- 12 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
- How to Prevent the Cold and Flu
- Fever Fears: A Guide for Treating Fevers