Can a bath reduce a fever?

Q: Will a bath help bring down my baby's fever?

A: Although in the past many people gave feverish kids baths to lower their temperature, doctors now say this isn't the wisest thing to do. When your child is sick and may already have the chills, stripping him naked and getting him wet will just make him shiver. Instead, try giving a dose of acetaminophen like Tylenol (for babies under 6 months) or ibuprofen like Motrin (for babies 6 months or older) -- but never a combination of both -- and placing a cool washcloth on your child's head to bring his fever down. Remember, most of the time a fever is nothing to fear, since it's actually a sign that your child's body is fighting off a virus or infection. So unless the fever is making your child visibly uncomfortable (meaning he's lost his appetite, is cranky, and can't sleep), there's really no need to try to bring it down. One exception is very young babies, whose immune systems are still so immature that any sign of a fever can be worrisome. Very high fevers can also be signs of rare, but serious illnesses, like pneumonia or meningitis, so you should call the doctor for any of the following circumstances:

- Your baby is less than 3 months and has a fever of 100.4 F. or higher - Your baby is between 3 and 6 months and has a fever of 101 F. or higher - Your child is older than 6 months and has a fever of 103 F. or higher

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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