As the pediatrician of Dear Son says — A fever itself is not an illness. Rather it is a symptom of another health issue. The body tries to cope with the issue and increases its fighting chance. The actual issue needs to be diagnosed.
Fevers caused by bacterial or fungal infections and virus attacks are common and sometimes painful for kids of any age. Lowering down the fever is a way to keep the child lesser uncomfortable. Needless to mention that, depending on the severity, the pediatrician might provide prescriptions to treat the actual illness that caused the fever.
Should we let fever ride or suppress it?
A 2015 paper published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease concluded that it is still scientifically unknown which strategy is good: suppressing fever or letting it ride. For us, parents, controversies are just another source of confusion. Our heart cannot bear the pain our children go through during a fever. On the other hand, logic tells us to do whatever is best for our children. I guess the best is to let the doctors figure out the cause of the fever and meantime keep the child as comfortable as possible.
How to lower fever naturally
Some suggestions to lower a fever are as follows.
- Have your child drink Liquid: Increase the liquid intake of your child. Liquids can be milk or water. Tummies of the little ones might not take the acidity of juice well during a fever. Try to avoid sugary drinks.
- Let your child wear lite clothing: We have a tendency to put heavy clothing when a child has a fever. Actually, lite clothing is preferable during fever to allow the heat to be transferred to the environment.
- Give a bath: Giving a bath with lukewarm water generally reduces the fever. A hot bath is not preferable because the heat absorbed in the body is not going to be taken away by a hot bath. A cold bath will be a cause of extreme discomfort to the child. Therefore, a bath with just lukewarm water is preferable.
- Use a wet towel to reduce the fever: Place wet towels with room temperature water on the forehead, nape, armpits, and groin of the child. The touch of a wet towel is comfortable for most children during a fever.
The pediatrician of your child might have already told you about Children’s Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is a common fever reducer. We use the Tylenol brand of Acetaminophen for our child. Children’s Acetaminophen comes in liquid form with different fruit flavors. Use as directed in the labels.
What if the fever comes back? Acetaminophen will artificially reduce fever. Artificially reducing the fever might sometimes prolong the issue that the body is fighting against. Call the pediatrician to have your child evaluated if the fever comes back within a few hours of taking the fever reducer. This is an indication that the body is fighting something.
The doctor might give prescriptions for antibiotic or other medications to treat the reason that caused the fever. Ask the doctor what medication is preferable to reduce the fever. Sometimes, the fever drops immediately after the first dose of an antibiotic.
While the child is being treated for infections, make sure to keep an eye on the feces of your child because sometimes the child may have antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
With serious inflammation, the doctor might give a prescription for strong pain or fever reducer.
In the case of viral diseases, including common cold or flu, the treatment is to go through the lifecycle of the virus normally and take over-the-counter drugs to stay comfortable.
At what temperature should you call the pediatrician?
With any fever, regardless of temperature, if you notice severe diarrhea, rash, seizure, inflammation of any kind, breathing issues, or if you feel that your child needs medical attention, you need to call the pediatrician or take the child to the urgent care.
Webmd explains that the severity-levels are different for the same temperature during a fever in kids of different ages. For example, it is suggested to call the pediatrician if the temperature is 100.4 °F and the child is less than three months old. For the age of three months to six months, please call the doctor’s office if the temperature is greater than 101°F. You need to call the doctor of a kid of age between six months to one year if the temperature is 103°F or higher. For kids older than one year but younger than two the temperature is the same but need to check if the child has this high temperature for a day. For a child of two years or older age, call the doctor if the temperature is 104 °F.
We have drawn the following figure, based on the info WebMD provides, in case parents of a newborn want to keep the handy chart for the next two years.
When speaking with the pediatrician, it is important to inform her/him about the age of the child and when the fever started. It is also essential to inform the doctor if the fever seems to go down and return at the same time of the day. Such descriptions help doctors identify the cause of the fever.
In our experience, a fever does not have the decency of maintaining business hours. Weekends, evenings, and nights seem to be its preferred times, at least for Dear Son.
The urgent cares around the area helped us a lot when the pediatrician’s office was closed. Many urgent care facilities in the El Paso County are open till 9 PM, even during weekends. In other times, when neither the doctor’s office nor the urgent cares are open, the nearest hospital emergency room is the best option if the child needs immediate medical attention.
We used urgent cares several times over the past few years, not only for Dear Son but also for ourselves. The local urgent care facilities are just like a regular doctor’s office but a little bit more equipped with services to treat cuts, burns, and bruises. Always keep a list of addresses of urgent care facilities in your area.
Wish you and your family a happy and healthy life! Have a wonderful week ahead!
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