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When to worry about a fever and how to manage it at home?

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Managing a fever at home and knowing when to worry about it involves understanding the fever’s severity, its symptoms, and the age of the person experiencing it. Here are general guidelines, but remember, these are not substitutes for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for concerns about a fever or its management.

When to Worry About a Fever

  • Infants under 3 months: Any fever (100.4°F or 38°C rectally) is a reason to call your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Children 3 months to 3 years: If the fever reaches 102.2°F (39°C) or higher, or if the child appears very lethargic, irritable, or uncomfortable.
  • Any age child: If the child has a rash, difficulty breathing, refuses to drink fluids, has a seizure, is difficult to awaken, or if the fever persists for more than three days.

Managing Fever at Home

  • Stay hydrated: Fever can lead to dehydration, so drink plenty of fluids such as water, juices, or broth. For children, oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte can be helpful.
  • Rest: The body needs more rest during a fever to help the immune system fight off the infection.
  • Dress lightly: Overdressing can trap body heat and make the fever last longer. Dress in light, comfortable clothes and use a light blanket if necessary.
  • Fever-reducing medication: Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help lower a fever. Be sure to follow the recommended dosages on the package, and never give aspirin to children or teenagers as it can lead to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious illness.
  • Cool compresses: Applying a cool compress to the forehead, back of the neck, or wrists can help reduce body temperature. Avoid using cold baths or showers, as this can cause shivering, which can raise body temperature.
  • Monitor temperature: Keep a close eye on the fever. Use a reliable thermometer to check the temperature regularly.

Remember, these home management strategies are for mild fevers and symptoms. If you’re concerned about the fever or if it meets any of the “worry” criteria mentioned, seek medical advice promptly.

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The Pediatric.me content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice of a physician