What to Do If Your Child Has a Fever: A Parent’s Guide


Fever in children is a common occurrence and is often a sign that their body is fighting off an infection. While fever itself is not usually a cause for alarm, it can be distressing for both children and parents. Here’s a guide on what to do if your child has a fever:

1. Stay Calm:

Your child may look to you for comfort and reassurance. Staying calm can help create a sense of security and comfort during this time.

2. Check the Temperature:

Use a digital thermometer to accurately measure your child’s temperature. A normal body temperature for children is around 98.6°F (37°C). A fever is generally considered to be a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.

3. Keep Your Child Comfortable:

  • Ensure your child gets plenty of rest.
  • Dress them in lightweight, breathable clothing.
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
  • Offer a fan or a damp cloth on their forehead to help cool them down.

4. Encourage Hydration:

Fever can lead to dehydration, so make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids. Water, clear broths, and oral rehydration solutions are good choices. Offer frequent sips to prevent dehydration.

5. Use Fever-Reducing Medications:

If your child is uncomfortable or has a high fever, you can consider giving them fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), following the dosage instructions on the packaging. Always consult your child’s healthcare provider for the appropriate dosage based on their age and weight.

6. Monitor Their Symptoms:

Keep a close eye on your child’s symptoms. If their fever persists for more than a couple of days, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as difficulty breathing, rash, persistent vomiting, or severe headache, contact your child’s pediatrician.

7. Rest and Quiet Activities:

Encourage your child to rest and engage in quiet activities while they recover. Avoid strenuous physical activities until the fever has subsided.

8. Maintain Good Hygiene:

Fever can be caused by various illnesses, many of which are contagious. To prevent the spread of infection within your household, remind your child to practice good handwashing habits and encourage them to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

9. Seek Medical Attention When Necessary:

If your child is an infant under 3 months old with a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or if they have underlying health conditions, contact their pediatrician immediately. Additionally, seek prompt medical attention if your child’s fever persists or worsens, or if they display any concerning symptoms.

10. Trust Your Parental Instincts:

You know your child best, so trust your instincts. If you feel that something is seriously wrong or if you have concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional for guidance and reassurance.

Remember that fever is often a sign that the body is working to fight off infection. Most fevers in children are not cause for alarm and can be managed at home. However, it’s essential to monitor your child’s condition, provide comfort, and seek medical advice when necessary to ensure their well-being.

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