TL:DR: If your child is older than 6 months, they probably do not need to be treated for fever.
Fever reducing medicines can be given if the kiddo is uncomfortable or has had febrile convulsions. But fear not! There are things we can do other than medicines to help our children feel better when they are sick with fever.
Fever is usually a sign that the body is fighting an infection or illness. It is one of the ways our immune systems respond to infection. Fever and pain reducing medicines are an option for kids who are uncomfortable, in pain, or have febrile seizures. Medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are commonly used. Because of the tripledemic, it can be very hard to find children’s fever reducing medicines right now.
The good news is that most children don’t need to have fever treated with medication! Even high fevers are not dangerous or cause long term harm unless your child has a history of seizure or other chronic medical problems. Kiddos who are playful, eating, drinking, and peeing are doing well and don’t require treatment for fever. Fevers don’t cause brain damage, “cook your brain,” or result in developmental problems. They are one of the body’s important mechanisms to fight off infection! The body temperature needs to get higher than 108 F to cause brain damage and fevers just don’t get this high. Body temperatures really only get this high when people are exposed to very hot temperatures, like in a hot car in summer.
Only about 4% of children will have a febrile seizure (a seizure that can happen in otherwise healthy children with fevers). Febrile seizures are scary to watch, but don’t tend to cause long term problems. The vast majority of kids with febrile seizure do not go on to develop seizure disorders and most will not have another seizure after the age of 5.
In short, treating fever is all about treating symptoms and helping our kids feel a little better. Here are some things you can do to help your children when they have a fever:
❄️ Keep the room comfortably cool
🩳 Dress in light clothes
🥛 Encourage hydration and drink more fluids.
💨 Use a fan to keep the air moving
When should you be concerned about your child’s fever and seek medical attention?
➡️ If your child appears very sick, regardless of how high or low the fever might be.
➡️ If your child is unusually sleepy or fussy.
➡️ If your child has been in a very hot place (like a closed car in the sun). This could be a sign of overheating or heat illness.
➡️ If your child is unable to eat or drink anything.
➡️ If your child is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4 F or higher.
➡️ If your child has immune suppressing conditions or medications.
➡️ If your child has chronic medical problems, like cancer, sickle cell disease, or heart or lung problems.
Stay Safe. Stay Well.
Those Nerdy Girls