Treating a Child’s Fever
Children get a fever when their body is starting to fight off some sort of infection or illness. Fever is the body’s natural way of trying to heal itself or ridding itself of the invading germs. But many parents panic and run to get aspirin or other fever reducer.
NOTE: Children under the age of 19 should avoid taking aspirin.
Treating any viral infection (such as a cold, chicken pox, or flu) with aspirin can be dangerous and might lead to a life-threatening disease called Reyes syndrome. For more information about Reyes Syndrome, please visit this link: Reyes Syndrome. Just as with the cold symptoms, there are various degrees of severity with fevers. A mild fever (up to 100.4 degrees F or 37.7 C) can be caused by simple exercise, taking a hot bath, or wearing too many clothing layers. This is considered normal and no need to worry or break out the medicine.
NOTE: Infants always require medical treatment if they have a fever over 37.7 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperatures higher than those are considered feverish and you will sometimes see changes in your child’s demeanor. He may be sluggish, tired, and lack an appetite. It’s important to watch for these symptoms so you can discuss them with your doctor to determine if the fever is a symptom of a more serious illness. Doctors generally accept treating fevers once the child shows signs of discomfort with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) products. Since ibuprofen also treats inflammation as well as pain and fever, it is stronger than acetaminophen.
Accidental overdoses are common with both products so it is necessary to be careful when giving your child either medicine. Be sure to record the time when you give each dose so you don’t exceed the recommendations on the bottle.