Fever is a sign that your child’s body is fighting an infection. If you think your child has a fever, you should take their temperature using a thermometer. Temperature readings are different depending on what part of the body you use. Your child has a fever if their temperature is above:

• Rectal 100.4° F (38.0° C)

• Oral (by mouth) 99.5° F (37.5° C)

• Armpit 98.6° F (37.0° C)

• Ear 100.0° F (37.8° C)

There are many types of thermometers. Cost and ease of use vary. Your pharmacist can help you pick the right thermometer for your child.

Why Do We Treat a Fever?

Treating a fever will help keep your child comfortable so they will eat, drink, and sleep. If your child has a fever but is playing, drinking fluids, and acting well, there is no reason to treat the fever. Medicines used to treat fever do not make the infection go away faster. Most fevers are not dangerous. However, you should call your child’s prescriber if your child:

• is less than 3 months old.

• has a fever that has lasted more than 24 hours.

• is also vomiting.

What Medicines Are Used to Treat Fever?

Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others) are used to treat fever and pain. When used the right way, these medicines are safe. Always read the directions on the label. DO NOT give your child aspirin for their fever unless their prescriber tells you to. Aspirin can cause serious side effects and Reye’s syndrome.

Other tips for the safe use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen include:

• Read the label before you open the bottle, after you measure a dose, and again before you give it.

• It is important to give the medicine exactly as you are told. Do not give more or less medicine and do not give it more often than recommended.

• Many allergy, cold, and flu medicines contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your pharmacist before combining medicines.

• When giving your child a liquid medicine, use the measuring tool that comes with the medicine. DO NOT use a kitchen spoon to measure the dose.

Other Ways to Keep Your Child Comfortable

If your child has a fever, there are other ways to keep them comfortable. These include:

• If shivering, keep your child warm.

• Give your child plenty of fluids to drink.

• Keep your child rested, quiet, and comfortable in a cool room.

• Place a cool washcloth on your child’s forehead or sponge them with lukewarm water. If sponge bathing, make sure the water doesn’t

get cold, and stop if your child starts to shiver.

• Never use rubbing alcohol to cool your child’s skin. It can go through the skin and harm your child.