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How do I care for a child with a fever?

General care for a fever:
  • If the child or infant has a fever, make him or her as comfortable as possible. Encourage the child to rest.
  • Make sure that the child or infant is not overdressed or covered with too many blankets. A single layer of clothing and a light blanket usually is all that is necessary.
  • Make sure that the child or infant drinks clear fluids (e.g., water, juice, or chicken broth) or continues nursing or bottle-feeding to prevent dehydration.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be given for a fever.
  • DO NOT give the child aspirin for fever or other signs of flu-like or other viral illness. For a child, taking aspirin can result in an extremely serious medical condition called Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome is an illness that affects the brain and other internal organs. Always consult the child’s healthcare provider before giving any over-the-counter pain relievers.
High fever:

If the child has a high fever, it is important to gently cool the child. Never rush cooling down a child.

Fever related to febrile seizure:

If the fever is caused by a febrile seizure, rapid cooling could bring on other complications.
  • Remove any excessive clothing or blankets and sponge the child with lukewarm water.
  • Do not use an ice water bath or rubbing alcohol to cool down the body. Both of these approaches are dangerous.
  • Continue caring for the child or infant with a high fever as described above.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.