Caring for Children With Fever
A fever is not usually harmful to a child. A child's temperature-regulating mechanism is not well developed, which can result in a fever being higher than expected with a relatively minor infection.
If your child has a fever, follow these recommendations:
- Take your child's temperature every two to four hours. Normal temperatures are 98.6 F (orally); 99.6 F (rectally) and 97.6 F (under the arm).
- Sponge bathe a child with a fever above 104 F. Place the child in a bathtub with two to three inches of lukewarm water. Gently sponge the water over his or her skin for about 15 minutes. Take the child's temperature again. Sponging may lower it one to three degrees. Stop sponging if the child starts shivering. Never sponge a child with rubbing alcohol.
- Caress the child lightly.
- Follow medication instructions completely.
- Take antibiotics and other prescribed medications until they are gone unless other instructions are given on the medication label.
- Do not expect the child to be well and fever free after only a few doses of an antibiotic.
- Avoid strenuous activity, excessive exercise and chills from drafts. All of these will increase body temperature.
- Encourage your child to drink lots of extra fluids
Call your doctor immediately for advice if your child:
- is younger than 3 months old and has a temprature of 100.4 F or greater.
- is drooling more than usual and having difficulty swalowing.
- is constantly crying, irritable and inconsolable.
- has a stiff neck or headache and fever.
- has difficulty breathing, unless it is due to a stuffy nose.
- is difficult to arouse, confused or delirious.
- Always follow your physician's instructions.