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Your Healthy Family: When to give kids fever-reducing medication

Posted at 7:45 AM, Jun 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-07 07:51:48-04

A recent poll found that one in three parents may be giving their children fever-reducing medication when they don't necessarily need it.

Dr. Maureen Ahmann, a Pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic Children's, said the results of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll aren't shocking.

“I am not surprised. A lot of parents give their children fever-reducing medications if their child’s temperature is 98.9 Or 99, and we really don’t recommend that,” Dr. Ahmann said.

She said it’s important for parents to focus on the child, and not the number on the thermometer. For example, if a child has a 102-degree temperature but seems comfortable otherwise, and is eating and drinking, she wouldn’t recommend giving them fever-reducing medication. She said it's because in some cases, a fever is a good thing; it can help stimulate the immune system to fight off infections.

Dr. Ahmann said fever-reducing medication can also mask symptoms that may be important for a doctor to know about.

She said if a child does have a high temperature and appears to be in pain and refusing fluids, giving them medication is fine. If you're not sure what to do, she recommends calling your child's Pediatrician.

"If your child gets a fever and you have questions, call us. If the fever lasts more than a few days, or if your child is less than 3 months old, or if the fever is over 104, or really the child just looks like they are in pain, they're not acting well, we ask for you to call us," Dr. Ahmann said.

She said when treating a fever at home, make sure your child stays hydrated and comfortable. Also, if your child has the chills, do not bundle them up in blankets. She said that could make their temperature rise even more.