Treatment for a Child’s Fever | Health Eagle

Treatment for a Child’s Fever

by Tom Seman MD FAAP April 1st, 2011 | Pediatrician on Call
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Is it better to give my child Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen for a fever?

Late fall, winter and spring are key times for a large variety of viral illness that cause a whole range of symptoms, but most concerning to all parents is fever. Fever is the body’s response to an infectious agent and the means to start to immobilize the agent and kill it. Therefore, a fever should be treated to control extreme levels of fever and/or for comfort. Most fevers under 102 do not need to be controlled aggressively since at this level it is generally safe and the body is being revved up to help fight off the infection. Above 102 the child may have aches and pains and feel terrible. There are many different types of fever reducers, but the two approved for children under the age of 16 years old are Ibuprofen and Acetominophen. Both are considered equally effective in controlling fever but each have different time of onset and duration of effects. Acetominophen can be used from age 2 months and up. The duration of action is approximately 4-6 hours. Ibuprofen can be used in children 6 months and older while its duration is 6-8 hours.

Most parents panic over fever because of the fear of febrile seizures. These seizures occur in children mainly under 6 years old and occur when the fever rapidly rises or falls. A ” simple” febrile seizure can last for approx 15 minutes and has no left over issues associated with it. Careful and aggressive control of fever during the first 48 hours of an illness is the main treatment. All first time seizures should be evaluated at the time that they occur. Follow up evaluations and treatment should be performed as recommended by the child’s physician.

Good Luck,

Dr. Tom

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