Most diseases in kids cause high body temperature, but it doesn’t mean you must give your children a fever reducer every time they are slightly hot. Use of medications without considerable reasons can cause complications. How to reduce fever in child, and when it should be done?
Mind the Limits
Many viruses and bacteria die when a person is experiencing fever – that makes body activate the immune system. Therefore, when your child complains about fever, that can be a good sign that means the body is applying all of its powers to fight infection. Even if you give your kid fever reducers, don’t strive to bring down the temperature to the normal level – a slight fever won’t hurt. I tell you more: in the vast majority of cases, infectious diseases don’t make temperature rise higher than 103 °F (39.5 °C) – it’s not dangerous for 2-3 months old babies.
According to WHO’s (World Health Organization) recommendations, healthy babies after 3 months should be administered fever reducers if they have a temperature higher than 101.3 °F (38.5 °C). However, if your kid also shows the signs of a headache and muscle pain, shock, intoxication, and shivers, you need to give fever-reducing medications right away.
Antipyretic drugs (fever reducers) must be given to kids who’re at risk of developing complications because of high temperature when the thermometer indicates 100 °F (38 °C). Those are babies under 2-3 months and the children with:
- febrile convulsions experienced;
- neurological diseases;
- serious heart and lung diseases;
- temperature provoking muscle pain and headache.
Uncontrolled use of fever reducers can provoke negative outcomes.
What you should definitely avoid is giving fever reducers regularly, because it makes estimation of the clinical history harder. You need to give another dose only when the temperature rises to the critical point again. Avoid mixing fever reducers and an antibiotic – your doctor won’t be able to evaluate the efficiency of the last one.
Choosing the Right Medication
The right choice of fever reducer allows avoiding serious complications. When selecting a drug, pay attention to:
- Convenience of use (whether the medication can be dosed for children).
- The possibility to combine it with other drugs your little one takes.
Your doctor can prescribe a suitable medication and define the right dosage. When you give your child syrups or suspensions, use only measuring spoons included in the package. Usual tea spoons contain 1-2 ml less liquid, so your child can get a lower dosage than needed.
What NOT to give
Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) isn’t prescribed for kids with viral infections, especially flu and chicken pox – it can provoke the development of Reye’s syndrome (a rare but life-threatening condition when brain and liver are affected).
Some countries have banned Analgin (metamizol), especially for oral use, because it makes up for the risk of agranulocytosis (low level of leukocytes, poor protection against fungi and bacteria) and collaptoid state (insufficient blood supply, fainting, dizziness). Today, this type of medication is only used for emergency help.
Some medications shouldn’t be used because of their toxicity:
These components are contained in a number of fever reducers and headache remedies. Besides, kids shouldn’t be given medications with salicylamide – a substance similar to aspirin. Children under 14 aren’t recommended medications with indometacin, because it can affect kidneys. Nimesulide-based pharmaceuticals are toxic for the liver – a few lethal cases took place.
Today, WHO recommends using paracetamol and ibuprofen as the safest and most efficient fever reducers.
What Should Be Used
Ibuprofen (Advil) in the dosage of 5-10 mg per kg is efficient, but it causes side effects more often than paracetamol. The maximum daily dose is 20-40 mg per kg. As for paracetamol, it’s prescribed in the dose of 10-15 mg per kg, and maximum daily dose shouldn’t exceed 60 mg per kg! Pills and syrups with paracetamol give effect in 30-60 minutes, while suppositories relieve temperature in 2-3 hours (they should be given before bedtime). Besides, suppositories are convenient when a kid is suffering from vomiting caused by medications.
If paracetamol and ibuprofen don’t help, doctors recommend using Analgin or a lytic cocktail intramuscularly.
The children with a hyperthermic syndrome or severe fever need immediate medical help that combines antipyretics, antihistamine and vasodilating medications. When high temperature is caused by vegetative health problems, fever reducers aren’t prescribed: instead, doctors give sedative medications, prescribe massage, physical therapy, and acupuncture.
Related: Signs of Dehydration in Kids
How To Reduce Fever In Child Naturally?
Before the invention of miracle drugs, our grandmothers used to bring down the temperature by traditional methods, and they still do work! Write them down:
- Sometimes undressing and rubbing is enough to bring down a high temperature: put kid’s clothes off, dampen a sponge with water of room temperature, and rub child’s body. It’s better to apply the sponge on areas where large blood vessels are located: neck, armpits, lower abdomen.
Mind one life hack: adding apple vinegar to water in 1:2 ratio will boost the efficiency of this method. For some reasons, it helps to relieve temperature.
- It’s crucial to increase fluid intake to avoid dehydration and help your kid flush the malaise away. Herbal tea (for instance, chamomile or peppermint) is a perfect beverage for an ill kid: it boosts the immune system and promotes restful sleep, which is crucial for recovery.
- Homemade soups and bone broth are also ideal: they are rich in cartilage, gelatin, and calcium, the components that our body needs when fighting against infections. Such food nourishes, makes us feel comfortable and is easily digested. Optimal choice!
- Warm baths. Not cold ones – they can only shock the body and make it raise the internal temperature. A luke-warm comforting bath with apple cider vinegar will soothe a kid and help with sleep. While water temperature is slowly dropping, body temperature will be cooling down, as well.
- More hugs and snuggles. There’s nothing more soothing than mother’s touch: it has pretty much the same effect as medications. Spend time with your little one: rock, hug, sing, and smile together. Your support is vital in the periods like that.
- Make the temperature in kid’s room comfortable: it should be about 70-74 °F.
Water procedures (bath and rubbing) can be very effective for reducing a high temperature.
When calling for a doctor?
Although in most cases diseases with fever can be easily cured at home, sometimes, medical help should be sought immediately. Contact your doctor in the following instances:
- Fever over 100.4 in babies under three month that’s accompanied by serious symptoms.
- A kid complains about stiffness in muscles, sensitivity to light, or listlessness.
- Fever that lasts over two consecutive days.
- The signs of respiratory distress are exhibited.
- A kid has been exposed to poisons or toxins that might have caused fever.
- A kid cannot hold food for a few hours and shows the signs of dehydration (dry skin, tongue covered with a thick white coat, rare urinating, and urine has an intense yellow, or even orange color).
- You feel that there is something serious going on with your child, even if no serious symptoms are exhibited.
Parents of infants find is especially hard to define when the situation gets too serious: a newly born baby cannot express complaints, so you should watch its behavior attentively. Give to raise the alarm, if you notice swelling on the top of baby’s head, high-pitched cries, lack of movement, difficulty of breathing, signs of thirst (lip smacking, or pursing of lips), a bluish hue around the mouth, toes, or fingers.
When it comes to your kid’s health, it’s always better to batten down the hatches and call the doctor who can give professional recommendations and visit you.