When parents see that their child has a fever, then they know the child is “really” sick. Fevers are a confirmation of sorts, letting us know that our child does have a legitimate illness. Should a fever be treated? Is it a problem? What are the treatment options?
Here are some of the treatment options for childhood fevers.
Nature’s Infection Fighter
It’s a good idea for parents to remember that a fever is, in a way, a good sign – it means your child’s body is doing what it is supposed to do to fight off infection. Fevers of 100 degrees F or below are usually not cause for alarm. Some medical experts and health enthusiasts do not recommend treating a low to moderate fever at all; rather, they recommend letting the fever run its course and do its job.
What Else Is Going On?
Perhaps a better question to ask is not “how high is the fever?” but “what other symptoms are present?” For example, a low-grade fever may mean there is a condition that needs treatment if it is accompanied by more serious symptoms such as a stiff neck, or if the fever is persisting for more than a week.
Perhaps the most common treatment for fever is non-aspirin pain relievers like acetaminophen. These medicines are not without concern or possible side effects, however. Make sure to look into the possible complications associated with the fever reducer you intend to give to your child. Also remember that there is often a “rebound effect” when the fever-reducing medicine is stopped, so you’ll need to give it regularly once you start it.
Many parents report good results from an old-fashioned, lukewarm or cool bath. If you have peppermint on hand, mixing cool peppermint tea into the bath water is soothing and cooling. Sponge your child all over with the bath water, and dress him or her lightly in cotton after the bath. If the child has chills, use blankets to help ease the shivers. Blankets are more easily removed and adjusted if the child goes from cold to hot.
Remember that peppermint tea? Iced peppermint tea is a favorite with children, and can be very soothing to drink. You can sweeten it if you like, and let the child drink however much he or she likes. Water and/or watered-down juice are good choices, too. Dairy, like hot chocolate or chocolate milk, should probably be avoided – some sources note that dairy products increase phlegm and inflammation.