Fever is not Your Child’s Enemy but His Friend

It can be scary when your child’s forehead feels abnormally warm to the touch. So it’s only natural for parents to stress over how to treat a fever in their child. But your impulse to bring that fever down immediately with ibuprofen or acetaminophen may not be the best move, according to a new American Academy of Pediatrics clinical report, published in the journal Pediatrics. The reason: Your child’s fever is a physiologic mechanism that has beneficial effects in fighting infection, so reducing the fever may actually hamper healing.

The details: Even when a child has a mild fever, many parents want to administer antipyretics such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, according to the report. That’s natural; we all want to be reassured by that “normal” 98.6 reading on the thermometer. But according to the AAP researchers, there is no evidence that fever itself worsens the course of an illness, or causes any long-term neurologic complications. “Thus, the primary goal…should be to improve the child’s overall comfort rather than focus on the normalization of body temperature,” the report says. Continue reading

The Best Way to Treat a Child’s Fever

If your child’s temperature was 100.3 degrees, would you consider that a fever? Would you wake him or her to administer an anti-fever medication? If you answered yes to both questions, you have a lot of company. You are also wrong.

A study published in the March issue of the Journal Pediatrics found that roughly half of all parents erroneously believe a body temperature of less than 100.4 degrees is a fever and about 85 percent say they would wake a sleeping child to give medication to lower his temperature. Another one-quarter said they would give OTC anti-fever medicines to kids with temperatures below 100 degrees.

Not only does the study suggest that Dr. Mom and Dr. Dad overreact when they think  Continue reading