Time for mom

Before you give your child a popular fever medicine, read. 7 rules that parents often forget


Antipyretics for children are publicly available. You don't need a prescription or doctor visits to buy them. Just go to the pharmacy and choose from a long list of suggestions. This is good, because when a child has a high fever, it is worth having a sense of security that in the event of a problem we will buy a medicine that will reduce the fever. On the other hand, it carries some risk - making mistakes that happen ... massively. As research shows - we give antipyretics too quickly, in this way we prolong the disease, apply them in the wrong dose, besides, we also reach for the wrong means, which with some diseases instead of helping - are harmful.

Therefore, before you give your fever medicine next time, be sure to read it.

The fever is good

When a child has a fever, we worry because we know that he is sick. We are looking for the cause of high temperature, we focus on activities that are to lead to rapid improvement in health.

We rarely see what lies behind the elevated temperature - namely natural and badly needed the body's defense response.

Fever means the child's immune system defends against viruses or bacteria, increasing the temperature, creates less favorable conditions for microorganisms, thanks to this the disease can be overcome. Fever also indicates inflammation in the body, i.e. an internal imbalance.

No wonder it evokes in itself strong emotions. We are afraid of fever and worry about a child. The consequences of anxiety can be different, as are opinions about high temperature and how to deal with it.

There is no shortage of mothers who, following the voice of intuition, do not give drugs at all to lower the temperature, allowing the child to "get up", use at most natural ways to reduce fever. There are also parents who, for fear of febrile seizures, already reduce a small subfebrile condition. There is also a group that decides on the "golden mean" and this strategy is supported by experts.

Currently, it is recommended lower the temperature - be it antipyretic syrups or natural means - when it reaches a level above 38.5 degrees. This allows you to lower the temperature when it is already high and can rise. On the other hand, what is practiced by many parents, doctors and pharmacists is also reasonable, to observe the child and monitor the temperature after crossing the 38.5 degree threshold, deciding on the next steps. If the child is not whining, crying, behaving "reasonably normally", non-administration and observation may be considered.

The temperature should absolutely be lowered (there is no way to wait here), if it is higher than 38.5 and:

  • it grows fast,
  • the child is depressed, grumpy, tearful,
  • the child is cold, has icy hands, legs and a hot forehead.

The most important is the child's comfort

The 38.5 degree limit is arbitrary. For some doctors, it is found elsewhere, at 38.3 degrees. Therefore, when a child has a fever, they should be observed and kept on pulse, keeping in mind the medical history of this particular child and how he reacts to high body temperature. This is the most important recommendation, followed by temperature measurement.

Why is this so important?

Because both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the British NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) are convinced that the parent's main goal should be to focus on the well-being and comfort of the child, not on lowering and normalizing body temperature. For this reason, these institutions they do not indicate a limit value from which the temperature should definitely be lowered. Experts from these institutions are of the opinion that antipyretics should not be used routinely, especially in children who feel good and in good health.

Administration of antipyretics may prolong the disease

The child's immune system is not well developed yet. He is just learning how to work properly, having the possibility of contact with various microorganisms. Administration of antipyretic syrup when the child has a subfebrile condition (temperature below 38.5 degrees) can adversely affect the course of the disease. In this way, the temperature is lowered, but the cause of the disease does not disappear.

Microorganisms that gain better conditions for development continue to multiply. As a consequence, the natural blocking process stops and the disease lasts longer. Often, parents observe this in specific cases, when the child suddenly gets worse after breaking the temperature and it becomes necessary to see a doctor. It happens that the temperature rises and falls with an unusual irregularity, which significantly extends the need for antipyretic drugs. These are also given incorrectly in this situation for many days, with breaks in between.

Fever is a good symptom. Parent, do not abuse antipyretics!

Think before you pass. Are you sure ibuprofen?

If your child's temperature is lowering the key is choosing the right preparation. For small children, we have two options - ibuprofen-based medicines (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, e.g. Nurofen, Ibufen, Ibum) and paracetamol (Panadol, Paracetamol).

Parents often prefer ibuprofen based agentsbecause they are stronger and more effective, they work faster and longer. In addition to analgesic and antipyretic effects, they also have anti-inflammatory effects, i.e. they help cope with the cause of the disease, and this seems advisable. In contrast, acetaminophen is weaker and has no anti-inflammatory effect. However, there is one "but" to remember ...

If we don't know what is the cause of fever, it is better to give paracetamol. Ibuprofen can be dangerous, especially if it turns out that the cause of the disease was Chickenpox whether mononucleosis. In addition, due to the toxicity of ibuprofen, it should not be given to newborns, it is not recommended for people with digestive problems. Do not give it to children who have it stomach discomfortbecause ibuprofen damages the walls of the stomach and can cause inflammationand even bleeding, also adversely affects the intestines, irritating them. Unfortunately it can also trigger kidney problems. Ibuprofen should also not be given to a child who is due to illness he eats and drinks little, even in situations when his stomach does not hurt.

The right dose? For the weight of the child

As much as 40% of parents give the child the wrong dose of medication, and every 8 minutes a child receives the wrong medicine or the wrong dose. Scary data?

This is because we often apply the eye medicine, based on kitchen utensil - teaspoons, spoons, instead of using the measuring cups provided with the medicine. This is very important, because the correct dose allows you to stay safe and avoid unpleasant consequences in the form of loss of health and even life. There are known cases of liver damage if a child receives too much medicine. The topic is serious, so you should approach it with caution.

Another matter t0 matching the dose to the weight, not to the child's age! This is very important, especially in the context of very thin children who may get too much medicine because of an error.

Frequently and regularly

Doubts are raised by the fact what to do if the child does not fall in temperature and the medicine is given, or what if the safe period of time has not passed when the next dose can be given? Then it is recommended alternating administration of ibuprofen and paracetamol.

Preparations with ibuprofen can be administered every 8 hours (20-30 mg per kilogram of the child's weight), and in the meantime, between subsequent doses, we give the child medicines with paracetamol (also every 6 hours, or every 4, 10 - 15 mg paracetamol per kilogram of weight) child's body). It is worth remembering that it takes time, usually about 60 minutes, for paracetamol to work. It is quite a long time, especially when the temperature rises, hence the belief that drugs based on paracetamol do not work, because the nervous parent before paracetamol works, gives ibuprofen.

Usually, using both preparations - based on paracetamol and ibuprofen - allows you to lower the temperature. However, if this fails, it's worth it apply a neck wrap from a towel soaked in lukewarm water. It is also possible use a bath slightly cooler than the child's temperature (The water should not be ice cold though!).

It is worth remembering that medication should be administered regularly. A common mistake is waiting for the temperature to rise again. If the child has a fever, however, it is advisable to administer medication for at least a day, monitoring the temperature.

Should the fever be sweated?

What did our grandmothers recommend for fever?

It's clear, going to bed and sweating the disease. It's true, but to some extent. If the temperature is not high (up to 38 degrees), it is worth sweating the body, because thanks to this you can get rid of toxins secreted by viruses and bacteria. Lying under a warm duvet and drinking diaphoretic teas (elderberry, raspberry, linden) can significantly reduce the time of illness, motivating the body to fight the disease.

However, when the temperature rises dangerously, it's higher than 38.5 degrees, Instead of covering the child tightly, putting on warm socks, everything should be done to cool the body and thus reduce the temperature to prevent it from raising to a high level. They are recommended then cool compresses, antipyretics and frequent airing of the room in which the child is staying. And also a light pajamas and a lot of fluids.