As a parent or someone who cares for children, it’s important to know when they’re sick. They’re cranky, don’t feel well, and they may be feverish. Learning how to keep a fever down in children is an important thing to know, especially if the children are too young to tell you how they feel.
Know how to take a child’s temperature. Temperatures may be taken rectally, under the arm, or orally, with different thermometers of course. There are also thermometers which take a temperature in the ear. Please realize each of these methods may not give you the same result. Be sure to let your child’s doctor know how you took your child’s temperature should you need to contact them.
It’s also important to know what constitutes having a fever. Some children may have a higher or lower normal body temperature so a fever to them may be different. During one of your child’s well visits, ask the doctor at which point you should contact them if your child has a fever. They will let you know if they consider 100 degrees or a higher number to be a fever.
If your child is still alert, eating and drinking well, interested in playing, and using the restroom you may not need to do anything. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off infection; by reducing the fever you may be prolonging an illness. If you’re the least bit unsure, don’t hesitate to contact the pediatrician’s office; that’s what they’re there for.
There are natural things you can do to bring down a fever without resorting to using fever-reducing medicines.
* If you are concerned about your child’s temperature, you can try bathing them or giving them a sponge bath with lukewarm water. Bathe the child in a few inches of warm water; the act of the water evaporating is what actually cools the child. Keep the bath short, no longer than ten minutes, and don’t give them more than once an hour. Never use cold water or rubbing alcohol to try to bring a child’s fever down.
* Ensure your child has plenty of clear, non-caffeinated liquids or juice. This will keep your child hydrated and urinating. If they refuse a drink, you may want to offer them a popsicle; very few children will turn one of those down. The easiest way to determine if your child is hydrated enough is to look at the color of their urine. It will be light-colored and they will urinate at least once every four hours.
* Let them rest. It’s not unusual for children who are feverish to want to sleep and rest. Keep them home from school if they’re running a temperature because that’s usually when most people are contagious. Give them quiet activities such as coloring, watching television or a video, or playing with toys.
* Don’t overdress your child if they’re feverish. Overdressing your child doesn’t allow the body to cool itself through perspiration evaporating from the skin. It also causes the body to become warmer. Dressing your child in a single layer of clothing (pajamas or lightweight clothing) and a sheet will probably be plenty.
There are times you may want to use a fever reducer to bring your child’s temperature down. Remember, however, to never give a child aspirin to bring down a fever as it could result in the child developing Reyes Syndrome. You also don’t want to use adult medicines when trying to keep a fever down in children.