This parenting tips article is not a substitute for medical advice! If your child is sick, has any preexisting medical conditions or you are concerned about a fever, seek the advice of your pediatrician.
As parents, our kid’s health is everything to us. We can’t stand to see our children sick. The moment they start sniffling, we go into “mama bear” mode, going on attack against whatever illness is affecting our little angels. For many moms, this means treating with medicine the moment that thermometer goes above 98.6. Is this really a good idea though? Should you treat that fever or let it run its course?
When I was a nursing student, my friend and lab partner was a medical assistant for a pediatrician’s office. Since I was a relatively new mom, I was always hitting her up for kid’s health parenting tips. I remember one day my son got a fever and I panicked, ready to medicate. She asked what the temperature was, and I said it was 99.8. She practically laughed and said “that’s nothing, leave it alone.” Nothing? My baby was sick!! How was that nothing! What kind parenting tips was she giving me here?
She explained to me that they don’t even bat an eye at anything under about 103 or so in her office. Kids can handle much higher temperatures than we can as adults. Also, that fever serves an important purpose. It is part of your child’s immune system response, designed to raise the body temperature to an uncomfortable level for the invading virus.
Kid’s Health Parenting Tips: When Should You Treat Your Child’s Fever?
Now, I’m not saying that if your child spikes a fever of 103, you should just stand by and do nothing. I always thought that if it was under 101, you should let it run. As it turns out, there really is no magic number to determine when you should treat your child’s fever, according to Dr. Tyeese Gaines in a story she wrote for NBC News. It really depends on your child’s comfort and personality. Basic kid’s health parenting tips for when to treat your child’s fever include:
- Drastically decreased energy levels. I can always tell when my son is really sick because he stops moving! If a fever is enough to make him want to lay around and do nothing, I know it’s bad. While some decrease in energy is normal with any illness, if your child becomes lethargic, it’s time to treat.
- Your child is complaining of severe aches and pains. If your little one is suffering from pain related to the illness, you may want to treat with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Just be sure to watch the dosage and not give too much. Aches and pains are typically part of the flu, so it may be a good idea to call your doctor now. See “Is it s Cold or the Flu” to discover more differences between the two.
- Ongoing fever. If the fever lasts three days or more, it’s time to treat and see a doctor. Even if it’s a low-grade fever- say under 101- if it’s not going away it needs to be treated.
- Infants three months and younger with any fever 100.4 or above. If your newborn spikes a fever of any kind over 100.4, call your doctor. Don’t treat it unless your doctor tells you to do so, as medications for that age can be iffy.
Remember, you know your child best. If she has a fever and is completely miserable, you may want to go ahead and treat it. If she has a fever and is acting normal, though, consider letting her body do its job. Better yet, follow basic tips to prevent the flu and other illnesses so you can cut down on the amount of fevers your child has in the first place!
Do you have any parenting tips for when treat fevers right away or let them run? How do you know when your child is really sick?