Benefits of Having a Fever

Making Little Ones More Comfortable

As parents know, higher fevers can be uncomfortable for kids and no one wants to see her child suffer. Fortunately, most kids don't feel the ill effects of fever until it gets above 102 or 103. Under those circumstances, using acetaminophen or ibuprofen is a good way to ease the ache of being sick, says Dr. Gary Kelsberg, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Washington.

If you give medications to your feverish kids, make sure you follow the dose instructions to the letter. Research has shown that many parents administer anti-fever drugs too frequently and in too high doses. "Choose the dose that matches your child's current weight, and use the dropper that came with the package," says Brown. "Different formulations of fever medications come in different strengths, so the dropper for one bottle of medicine might not be right for another bottle."

The exact dosage is important because acetaminophen can cause liver damage and ibuprofen kidney damage, even in relatively small overdoses, because of the size of children's bodies. Never give aspirin to children or adolescents with fevers -- the combination of aspirin and a viral infection may lead to Reye's syndrome, a rare yet potentially fatal liver disorder. After age 18, this risk virtually disappears.

If you want to try old-fashioned home remedies, provide cool drinks, place a fan near your child's bed to keep the air circulating, and use the old stand-by, a lukewarm (not cool) sponge bath. Above all, remember that most healing of all home remedies -- plenty of hugs and kisses.

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