Fort Worth, Texas,
20
April
2016
|
08:24 PM
America/Chicago

7 mistakes parents make when treating their child’s fever

Doc Smitty on the errors parents commit

If you’re not treating fever right, it could leave your child miserable.

If you make a mistake, it could be harmful.

Myths about fever are common. And, no, you don’t have to go to the ER for fever. Treating a fever at home is often the right thing to do. But, we can’t get so comfortable treating fever that we forget that medicines can be dangerous, even over-the-counter fever reducers.

Here are 7 mistakes parents make when treating their child’s fever:

  1. They treat normal temperatures. A child that has a 99 degree temperature does not have a fever. There’s no need to give them medicine. If one of our children has a 101 temperature but is playful, I don’t stop them to give medicine.
  2. They wake kids up to give them medicine. If a child is sleeping, it’s OK to let them sleep.
  3. They give aspirin. Aspirin should never be given to children with fever. It can cause a rare, but serious condition known as Reye syndrome which leads to confusion, brain swelling and liver damage.
  4. They don’t give enough medicine. It is so common for children to be under-dosed by parents. Maybe it’s the psychological barrier to seeing your children grow up, especially when they are sick but giving the same dose to your child at 6 months and 6 years won’t work. Know their weight and dose accordingly.
  5. They give too much medicine. Again, know your child’s weight and use a chart. Measure twice, dose once. If you think that you gave too much, you can call poison control to see if you should be worried: 1-800-222-1222.
  6. They give too many doses. The old standby of alternating Tylenol and Motrin for fever goes way back but the reality is that overdosing and extra doses occur much more frequently with this strategy. I have quit recommending it for families altogether. Again, if this occurs, call poison control.
  7. They leave the fever medicine out and kids get into it. This mistake is common and completely understandable. Often when kids need fever medicine, it’s a high-stress-low-sleep situation; a mental state where we are more prone to let down our safeguards. Don’t do it! Find a place up high to store your medicine and droppers so that they are in a convenient place and put them right back after you pour your dose. If you kid does get into the medicine, any ideas what you can do? 1-800-222-1222.

Here are the two major takeaways for treating fever:

Know your child’s weight and have a chart handy. Use it every time.

Stop right now and store the poison control number into your phone. Here it is again, in case you forgot: 1-800-222-1222.

About the author

Justin Smith, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Lewisville . View more from The Doc Smitty at his Facebook page. He attended University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School and did his pediatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. He joins Cook Children's after practicing in his hometown of Abilene for four years. He has a particular interest in development, behavior and care for children struggling with obesity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his 3 young children, exercising, reading and writing about parenting and pediatric health issues.

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