Do I have to treat my child’s fever if he is acting fine?

Not necessarily. While a parent’s panic level often rises right along with the thermometer, it is often not necessary to treat your child with a fever reducer if he does not have an underlying medical problem and is acting fine.

Fever is simply the body’s way of fighting off infection, and giving medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen will not shorten the course of illness. I recommend giving medication to your child only if he or she is complaining of pain or just looks miserable. But if he is bouncing off the walls or she is dancing all around the room, skip the meds! Of course, some children with underlying heart, lung, or neurologic diseases may not tolerate fevers, so talk to your child’s doctor for specific instructions.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, April 2019

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