Whether a fever is serious or not depends on your child’s age and how high the temperature is.   In general, call the doctor if:

* Your baby is younger than age 3 months and has a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher
* Your baby is between ages 3 months and 6 months and gets a temperature of 101 degrees or higher, even if the child  doesn’t seem sick
* Your child is age 6 months or older and gets a temperature of 103 degrees or higher, even if the youngster appears to feel OK
* Your child has a seizure
* Your child has an earache or sore throat in addition to a fever

Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, or ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin, help reduce fevers.   Do not give ibuprofen to children younger than age 6 months, though.   And ask your doctor before giving any medicine to children younger than age 3 months.   Do not give a child aspirin unless your doctor advises it.   Aspirin has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease.

These other strategies can also make your little patient more comfortable:

*Sponge your child with lukewarm water to reduce fever, but do not use rubbing alcohol or cold water for baths. Cold baths can cause shivering, which raises body temperature.
* Keep your child’s room cool.
* Dress your child in light clothing.
* Encourage your child to take in extra fluids by drinking water and eating popsicles, gelatin and soup.

It’s important to realize that fever is the body’s response to fighting off an infection.

One of the biggest worries parents have about high fevers is the risk for brain damage.   Knowing the facts may help you breathe a little easier.   It turns out that fevers do not usually cause brain damage unless they are higher than 107.6 degrees, according to the National Institutes of Health.

(from BCBS Newsletter- Feb 2010 )

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