Kids and Fevers – Don’t Freak Out

I was not prepared as a parent for when my kids got sick. Not at all. Not even a little.

Throw in the abject terror of the first fever and combine it with a complete lack of knowledge about sick kids and you end up feeling like most full-time parents. I remember when Will got his first fever I had no clue what to do. I was home alone with him at the time and the thermometer said 102.3 degrees, so I did what any new dad would do.

I called the pediatrician and asked her whether I should bring Will to her or go to the emergency room.

Yes, it was an overreaction. No, I didn’t know it’s sometimes OK for a kid to run a fever if there are no other serious symptoms. But luckily for you, my ignorance can be your wisdom. I’ve teamed up with Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA’s) Educational Foundation in support of KnowYourOTCs.org, to give you four FAQs I wish I had before I made a fool of myself.

Here are some tips from Dr. Swanson from Seattle Mama Doc.

1, Is it necessary to treat every fever? 
The short answer is no. Remember, treat your child’s symptoms. If they have a fever but they’re acting acting playful then they’re likely OK. But if there’s a fever and you notice they seem tired or unwell, it’s probably time to call a pediatrician.- or do they seem tired and unwell? According to Dr. Swanson “Fever is a natural response of the immune system – it’s a response to illness, not illness itself.”

2. So when kids have a fever, when should you seek out the pediatrician? 
Dr. Swanson recommends seeing the pediatrician if the fever persists after three days in infants and children, in any fever in a baby three months or younger, or any fever over 104.

3. Are you correctly dosing your child? Be precise with right device.
Before offering your child an OTC pain reliever, remember to always read the Drug Facts label to ensure correct dosage and to make sure you aren’t double dosing because some cold and flu OTCs contain acetaminophen. According to a study conducted by the National Institute for Health (NIH), eight out of 10 parents have given the wrong dose of liquid medicine by accident. Only use the dosing device that comes with the medicine to ensure proper dosing.Never ever use a kitchen spoon – it is never appropriate to substitute for the dosing device that comes with the medicine.  Find more tips on safe dosing here. And remember to dose your child based on their weight, not their age.

4. What about alternating between ibuprofen and acetaminophen? 
If you decide to alternate between these two medicines, make sure you are keeping track of dosage and time. Make sure you start with one medicine and then offer the other medicine next, about 3-4 hours later. Dr. Swanson wants to remind parents that neither medicine should be used for more than 72 hours without consulting a physician. Click here for a helpful dosing chart based on child’s weight, for ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

And here’s a helpful infographic.

This is a sponsored post. I am collaborating with the CHPA (Consumer Health Products Association) Educational Foundation and knowyourOTCs.org. I was compensated for this post but as always, my opinions are my own.

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3 thoughts on “Kids and Fevers – Don’t Freak Out

  1. Good tips Aaron. I remember when our child got a fever, my wife got really concerned. I was too, and we gave her calpol to lower the temperature. When I researched more, I found that fever actually helps speed up our immune cells to get to the infection. So now we check how they are feeling, and give colpol when they actually feel bad rather than based on temperature (unless it’s really high).
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