My 13 month old daughter has a fever, should I give her a fever reducer? I’ve been hearing so many conflicting opinions. What should I do?
Fever is one of those things in our children that triggers a natural response from us as mothers…we want to treat it. Even I have been tempted to reach in the medicine cabinet at the first sign of fever. It’s the caregiver and nurturer in us that propels us to help our children, and fever, in our minds, is often equated with something bad.
So, I think the first step here in approaching our response to fevers in our children is to understand why our children get them. A fever is a physiological response to an infection, whether it is viral or bacterial related. The fever itself is not an illness and does not harm your child. In fact, fevers actually turn on the body’s immune system to help it do its job in fighting the infection.
So really…fever is good. Hard to believe I know, but it’s true.
Keeping that in mind, I remind parents to not worry so much about the number on the thermometer. Look at your child. Does she look uncomfortable? Is she cranky, irritable, or refusing to drink? If the answer is yes, then by all means give your child the proper dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Oftentimes, a child who starts looking wiped out or droopy will suddenly perk up once the fever is brought down.
Furthermore, each child responds differently to fever. Some will remain unfazed in the face of fever. I know for my own children, once that fever really starts climbing, they start feeling and showing it. The important thing to keep in mind is to treat the child, not the fever.
Remember that the goal of treatment is not to normalize her temperature, the goal is to make her feel better. The fever itself is likely to return once the medication wears off and this is expected since your daughter is likely fighting off an infection. Do not be alarmed, just remember to look at how your child is feeling.
Be sure to offer her plenty of liquids throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Keep your home at a cool temperature and dress her in light clothing, and of course, offer her plenty of cuddles and kisses.
So, when do you need to become concerned about your child’s fever?
- A fever that persists for longer than 3 days may warrant a trip to her doctor to evaluate her source of infection.
- Any infant less than 4 months old with a fever (100.4 or higher) should be seen by her doctor.
- Any child who refuses to eat, drink, has trouble breathing, or appears very sick to you. Follow your instincts, if your child just doesn’t seem “right”, have her evaluated by her doctor.
Does this help allay your fear of fevers? Have you been tempted to reach for the medicine at the first sign of a fever? What questions about fevers do you have?
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