How to treat a fever

What’s the best way to treat a fever? Is there a difference between acetaminophen or ibuprofen? Dr. Stephen Pishko, pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, explains fever, how to treat and when to seek help.

Facts about fever

  • Fever is your body’s natural response to help fight infection
  • Fever begins at a Rectal temperature 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Usually children can tolerate low grade fevers well without any significant change to their eating, sleeping or activity levels
  • If your child is acting sick, that’s an indication to treat the fever.Keep the room temperature cool and drink plenty of fluids

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen?

  • Treat the fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil)
  • Don’t use aspirin with children because it can cause Rye syndrome
  • Be sure to dose correctly based on the child’s age and wait
  • Don’t use ibuprofen if your child is younger than 6 months or dehydrated
  • Alternating between Tylenol and Advil can be a good technique every three to four hours

If your child shows serious signs of illness – severe irritability, excessive sleepiness, severe vomiting, severe headache, severe neck pain or seizures – contact your pediatrician.

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