Treatments for Fever in Children

When should a fever be treated?

If your child is very uncomfortable, treatment may be necessary. Treating your child's fever will not help her body get rid of the infection any quicker, but it will relieve discomfort associated with it.

Rarely, children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years can develop seizures from high fever (called febrile seizures). If your child does have a febrile seizure, there is a chance that the seizure may occur again, but, usually, children outgrow the febrile seizures. A febrile seizure does not mean your child has epilepsy.

What can I do to decrease my child's fever?

Give her an anti-fever medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. DO NOT give your child aspirin, as it has been linked to a serious, potentially fatal disease, called Reye syndrome.

Other ways to reduce a fever:

  • Dress your child lightly. Excess clothing will trap body heat and cause her temperature to rise.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Give your child a lukewarm bath.
  • Place cold washcloths over areas of the body where the blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin such as the forehead, wrists and groin.

When should I call my child's physician?

If your child's temperature reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit, this is considered a medical emergency and your child needs immediate medical attention, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Call your child's physician immediately if your child is younger than 3 months old and any of the following conditions are present:

  • Your child's rectal temperature is greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Your child is crying inconsolably.
  • Your child is difficult to awaken.
  • Your child's neck is stiff
  • Purple spots are present on the skin.
  • Breathing is difficult AND does not improve after you clear the nose.
  • Your child is unable to swallow anything and is drooling saliva.
  • Your child looks or acts very sick (if possible, check your child's appearance one hour after your child has taken an appropriate dose of acetaminophen.

Call your child's physician within 24 hours if your child, 3 months or older, has any of the following conditions present:

  • The fever is 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (especially if your child is younger than 2 years old)
  • Burning or pain occurs with urination
  • Your child has had a fever for more than 24 hours without an obvious cause or location of infection.

Call your child's physician during office hours if any of the following conditions are present:

  • Your child has had a fever more than 72 hours.
  • The fever went away for more than 24 hours and then returned.
  • Your child has a history of febrile seizures.
  • You have other concerns or questions.