As parents, we worry about fevers when our children get sick. Many people fear fever, but remember: it’s the body’s way of fighting infection. A healthy immune system raises the body’s temperature on purpose.

A fever is any temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, but there is no specific temperature that is inherently dangerous to your child. Many have heard the old wives’ tale that a fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit will cause brain damage, but that isn’t true.

We treat fevers because they can make your child feel pretty miserable. They may be uncomfortable and fussy, and they may not want to eat or drink. Treating them with medicine just gives them a little bit of relief.

If your child is sleeping comfortably, there is no reason to wake them, even if they have a fever. But if your child wakes up fussy, go ahead and treat him or her with medicine.

Acetaminophen is available to even the youngest infants. Ibuprofen can be given after six months of age. The amount you give to your child depends on his or her weight, not age. It’s important to find out your child’s weight each time you visit the pediatrician so you know how much medicine to give.

In babies under three months of age, all fevers warrant a medical evaluation. Call your pediatrician right away if your infant has a fever over 100.4. Any child with fever and rash needs to be seen right away.

Comments

  1. When I was buying infant Tylenol when my younger son just had a fever, I was surprised to see how confusing it was to find exactly what I needed at the pharmacy – no wonder dosage mix-ups occur all the time! I think your point that kids who have a fever but are comfortable don’t need treatment is a great reminder that fevers happen as a way for our bodies to fight off nasty bugs – thanks!

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  2. How long are babies contagious after fever?

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  3. The dosage amounts my doctor tells me to give are always different from the directions on the actual box of tylenol or ibuprofen. Is their a chart that gives the correct dosage based on the weight? That would be an awesome resource to have on hand. 🙂 Also, I want to invest in a good thermometer (I’ve never had much luck with the ear ones). Do you have one that you would recommend?

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    1. The dose on the box is calculated for a wide range of weights and tends to be low for safety purposes. Your child’s doctor looks at your child’s actual weight in kilograms and calculates exactly.

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