Fever, Age 11 and Younger
Fever, Age 11 and Younger
It can be hard to know whether you
should call your doctor when your child has a
fever, especially during the cold and flu season. The
degree of the fever may not be related to the seriousness of the illness. The
way your child looks and acts is a better guide than the thermometer. Most
children will be less active when they have a fever.
If your child
is comfortable and alert, is eating well, is drinking enough fluids, is urinating normal
amounts, and seems to be improving, home treatment without medicine is all that
is needed for a fever. Dress your child
lightly, and do not wrap him or her in blankets. Dressing lightly will help
your child's body cool down.
Try these home treatment measures to make sure your child is drinking enough fluids and does not get dehydrated while he or she has a fever.
Newborns and babies younger than 1 year of age
dehydration develops to replace lost fluids. Offer
fluids to your baby often.
- If you breast-feed your baby, nurse him or her
- If you use a bottle to feed your baby, the amount of
fluid you normally use in the formula should be enough to replace lost fluids.
Check with your child's doctor if you think you need to feed your baby more
- Use an
oral rehydration solution (ORS) if mild or moderate dehydration develops. The
amount of ORS your baby needs depends on his or her weight and how dehydrated
he or she is. You can give the ORS in a dropper, spoon, or
- If your baby has started eating cereal, you may replace
lost fluids with cereal. You also may feed your baby strained bananas and
mashed potatoes if your child has had these foods before.
Children ages 1 through 11
- Make sure your child is drinking often.
Frequent, small amounts work best.
- For children with dehydration,
an oral rehydration solution (ORS) or plain water (if the child is eating food) may be used to replace lost
- Allow your child to drink as much fluid as he or she wants.
Encourage your child to
drink extra fluids or suck on flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles. Children
ages 4 to 10 should drink at least 6 to 10 glasses of liquids
to replace lost fluids.
- Cereal mixed with milk or water may also be
used to replace lost fluids.
Keep your child comfortable
Lowering your child's
temperature is important when the fever is causing discomfort. If your child is
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
| Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your child's fever or pain:|
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
| Be sure to follow
these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
- Carefully read and follow all labels on
the medicine bottle and box.
- Give, but do not exceed, the maximum
- Do not give your child a medicine if he or she
has had an
allergic reaction to it in the past.
- Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless directed to do so
by your child's doctor.
- Do not give naproxen (such as Aleve) to children younger than age 12 unless your child's
doctor tells you to.
- Try giving your child a
sponge bath with lukewarm water. Do not use cold water, ice, or rubbing alcohol.
- Encourage quiet
- Watch for
signs of dehydration. These include your child being thirstier than usual and having darker urine than usual.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your child's doctor if any of the following occur during home
- Level of consciousness
- Your child has
signs of dehydration and is not able to drink
enough to replace lost fluids. Signs of dehydration include being thirstier than usual and having darker urine than usual.
- Other symptoms develop, such as pain in one area of the body,
shortness of breath, or urinary symptoms.
- Symptoms become more severe or frequent.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
September 13, 2012
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