What Is a Fever?
A persons average body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C), but this could be a degree lower in the morning or higher in the late evening. When a temperature goes above 99.6 F (37 C), it is considered a low grade fever.
A fever on its own is not a medical condition, but rather a symptom of another illness. When your body detects an invasion, such as a virus or bacteria, it will try to fight off the infection by raising your body's temperature. It can be a minor irritation that your child barley notices, or it can be extremely uncomfortable.
If your baby is under three months old and spikes a fever you should be seen by a doctor immediately. That is a very vulnerable age, and there small systems are not equipped to handle a serious infection. If your toddler or older child develops a fever of 104 or higher, you will want to seek medical attention!
In the event your child has a fever that is not high enough to become worrisome, but making them feel uncomfortable, there are a few tricks you can do at home to lower their temperature. We will look at some of them below, good luck parents!
1. Over The Counter Medications
Perhaps the most common cure for a fever is over the counter medications such as Motrin and Tylenol. They are extremely effective when given in the correct dosages, and at the correct times. If you take your child to the Emergency Room, they will likely use this as their course of treatment for fevers.
Normally, you would only give either Tylenol or Motrin. In some rare cases, when a fever gets very high or is not responding to one medication, a doctor may recommend giving both in intervals. Although, you should never do this unless directed by a doctor and given specific instructions.
Make sure to follow the dosing chart on the bottle exactly, to avoid over dosing your baby. Another great idea is to keep a medication journal, where you store your Tylenol, and write down every time you give each medication. This will prevent an accidental overdose and is especially important when both parents are medicating the children, because one may not know the other has already given Motrin and then give it again!
It is not recommended (in fact it is highly recommended against) to give a child aspirin because it has been linked to the more serious medical condition Reye's syndrome.
2. Cure The Underlying Issue
This is basically common knowledge, but deserves attention anyways! It is important that you determine the actual cause of the fever, and not just treat it on your own in hopes it will go away. Often times a high temperature is a symptom of a much more serious condition, and when left untreated could become a very dangerous problem.
For example, if your child has strep it needs to be treated with a round of antibiotics. When left untreated it could lead to a much more serious problem called Rheumatic Fever and that can be dangerous! So it is important to seek medical attention if you notice other symptoms beyond a fever such as:
- Sore throat
- Ear pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Stiff neck
- Pain or discomfort anywhere
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling on your body that is hot to touch
- Your fever lasts more then 2 days, goes above 104, or you cannot bring it down with medications
There are other symptoms as well, but these are the most common ones to watch for. If you notice your child is acting weird, or just not like themselves, it never hurts to be seen by a doctor!
3. Curing a Fever Without Medication
If you do not like the idea of giving medication to your child, or you just don't have any handy right at the moment, there are many other things you can do to bring down your child's fever.
- Give your baby ample amounts of cold fluids. Water or Pedialite should be offered to your child constantly to insure they do not become dehydrated. If your child is still breastfeeding, increase the amount of times you feed them.
- Give your child a bath in lukewarm water. If you cannot get your little one interested in a Tubby, you can do a sponge bath! Cold water would sound like a good solution but it is not! Not only could it raise their temperature, but it is uncomfortable for your child! Also, some say to add a small amount of rubbing alcohol into the water. Older people swear it works and since it increases the evaporation of the water, which is what cools your body, it sounds reasonable. However, many people recommend against it because if too much is used it can cause alcohol poisoning, and if the water is ingested it could lead to bigger problems.
- Put a damp cloth on your child's forehead. I am a full grown adult and this makes me feel better when I have a temperature!
- Dress your toddler in light clothing. Remember that a temp raises your body heat internally, so you are more sensitive to the cold. You do not want your child to be cold, but you don't want to overdress a fever either!
- Don't use big blankets! If possible stay away from fleece or other heavy blankets! You don't want to raise their temp any more then it already is, a light sheet should be plenty.
- If you have a fan or air conditioner, lay your child in front of it to keep them cooled down.
- Feed chilled foods such as Popsicle, yogurt, frozen bananas etc. It can be hard to get your child to eat when they are sick, but if you can get them interested in eating, avoid hot foods!
- Stay away from anything that is going to raise your baby's body temp such as going outdoors in the sun, or being in a very hot room.
- Sick children want to cuddle, and a good Mommy will never deny them that comfort! However, try to find a way to comfort and hold them that doesn't cause more body heat! I generally will have my child lay with their head in my lap, I can rub their hair and read them stories, but I am not making their fever worse with my body heat!
If none of these things are working you could move on towards a lesser known home remedy to cure your darlings fever.
4. Home Remedies For A High Fever
There are a lot of parents who do not feel comfortable giving their young children over the counter medications. Many of those parents are on the fence about immunizations as well. I am not here to say if you should, or should not, give medicine to your little one, but if you're against it, there are some great home remedies to cure a child's high fever that you can use instead!
PS - I have never personally tried many of these methods, but have many friends who prefer natural healing and they have used them. I am in favor or homeopathic treatments, but I am not against medicating my child when needed. I am just putting the information out there for you to do with what you will! Thanks everyone! (If anyone sees something here that they know is not a good idea for some reason, or I'll advised please let me know in the comment section and I will edit it!
- Apple cider vinegar is a great kitchen item that can be used in many home remedies. It works well for a fever because it draws heat from the body, and helps replace minerals that you lose due to a high fever. You can either add it to your bath water and soak for five to ten minutes, or wet a cloth with cool water and vinegar. I have heard that with each method you should notice a slight improvement within twenty minutes. Another way to use vinegar (but probably not a great solution with a young child) is to slice a potato, and soak the slices in vinegar, then place them on your forehead!
- Basil has some amazing healing properties, and it works almost as well as many antibiotics. You can boil it with ginger to make a wonderful tea, or steep using a tea ball filled with basil leaves. If you can get your little one to drink it, it can work very well!
- Garlic is great for curing a fever because of its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Like above, you can steep or boil garlic with water to make a tea, and sip it slowly throughout the day. Chances are good you are not going to get your little one interested in hot garlic water! Eww! However, you can crush a few cloves of garlic into a paste, mix with a bit of olive oil, warm the mixture (warm not hot), and apply it to the soles of your kids feet overnight. This has been said to reduce a fever in just one night!
- Soak a couple washcloths in egg whites and wrap around your feet. Then put on a pair of cotton socks, and a pair of wool socks over those! Why does this work? I have not one clue, but people say that it does!
- Ginger, like garlic, has some amazing healing properties and can be used in a wide assortment of home remedies for almost everything! In the case of a fever it can be used to promote sweating. Add ginger powder to a bath and sock for ten to fifteen minutes. Lay down right after your bath, and cover with a light sheet or blanket. You should notice yourself sweating much more then normal, and this will help bring your fever down. I would not recommend using this method with a small child, but instead an older child or yourself!
- Raisins are full of good nutrients and work great for a fever! Place twenty-five raisins in a half a cup of water, once they have soaked up the water, crush them and strain out the liquid. Add the juice from a lime and drink! You will notice results shortly after!
- Coconut oil is great because of its antiviral and antibacterial properties and can be added to food easily. It dosent taste half bad either!
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil is a great way to boost the body's immune system. It comes in different forms, and can be found at your local health store. It won't do a lot for the fever, but it will help give your body immune boosting nutrients to help fight off the illness quicker! You can take it daily to strengthen your immune system as well!
Fevers Can Be Very Dangerous!
However you choose to fight off your little ones fever is entirely up to you, but fighting it is essential to your baby's health! There are some parents who say you should allow a fever to run its course.They believe fevers are a bodies natural cure for infections, and while they are right, fevers can be dangerous when left untreated!
If you want to allow yourself to be miserable and bull through a fever, more power too you! Your child dose not have the correct information or critical thinking skills to make that choice. As a parent it is our job to keep them safe, comfortable, and alive! So please, however you decide to treat your baby's fever, please treat it!
Hopefully you have found something here that was helpful to you and your kiddo! If you have tried everything and your darlings fever is still high or not going down, seek medical attention immediately!
Good Luck and I hope your little one feels better soon!
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Please share your experience with fevers and your children!
Meagan Ireland (author) from Maine on July 23, 2017:
Your not wrong Stephen! There are some theories that suggest treating a fever could be a bad thing, if it is a low fever. If you immedietly give Motrin or Ibprofin your child will feel better, and this could possibly mask other symptoms you may have noticed without the medication.
Also, when left untreated, a fever can actually help you overcome your illness much quicker because it is your bodies natural remedy for certain illnesses.
However, what if the fever is a sign of a serious infection that left untreated could run ramped causing more harm? What happenens when you allow your child to lay on the couch fighting the fever naturally and they begin to have seizures because of it? Did you know a high enough fever can cause brain damage if left untreated? Obviously, this would be an extreme case and fevers don't usually go high enough but what if?
I do understand the theory, but I as a parent have a hard time putting my child to bed with a fever, not knowing if it is going to climb that high while I am sleeping! And I sure can't stay awake with a thermometer stuck in their armpit all night long! LOL!
Anyways, your not wrong, and there are much worse things that could happen as a side effect from Motrin and Tylenol! So I guess you have to decide on a case to case basis!
I do know that I took my daughter to the Emergency Room with a fever when she was almost three and they immedietly gave her both Motrin and Tylenol! This was just last year! Also, what prompted me to write this was my daughter having a fever last week and her primary care provider said to give Tylenol and Motrin intermittently - so I don't think all medical providers are reccomending that either!
I guess it depends on your doctor and your beliefs, I will edit my HUB to suit that though, Thank you! I just put the information out there for people who are already looking for it, and that's also why I included all the different ways to treat a Fever!
Stephen Carr from Corona, CA on July 22, 2017:
More and more, the medical community is starting to suggest to not treat fevers except in extreme cases. The fever is actually a good thing, and is fighting the infection. Making the child comfortable, not lowering the fever, is now being emphasized.