The most important thing to remember is to have the child drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. If the fever exceeds 39°C and does not lower after taking medication (it usually takes 60 to 90 minutes for the fever to drop), it is important to contact a doctor because there is always a risk of complications…
For babies under three months old, high fevers are usually due to infectious diseases, and these infections may be severe. Any fever for a child that age requires immediate attention. The fever in itself is not problematic, but the disease it is hiding is. High fever is often the only sign that a baby is sick.
See a doctor immediately if your child, no matter his age, has a temperature higher than 40.5°C (105 °F), is crying constantly, has difficulty staying awake or has trouble breathing.
See a doctor if a child, aged from 3 months to 2 years old, has a temperature higher than 38.5°C (rectal) for more than 24 hours.
Any child who has had a fever for more than three days, no matter their age, should see a doctor.
Do not hesitate to consult your pharmacist or your doctor to find the exact dosage to administer your child. The age of a child does not matter; it is their weight that counts.
Acetaminophen (Tempra, Tylenol): 15mg per kilo of the child’s weight, every 4 hours, if needed. If the child vomits or spits out the medication immediately or within the first 15 minutes, you may give him another full dose. If the child has a hard time with liquid medication, it is possible to use suppositories.
Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil): 5 to 10mg per kilo of the child’s weight, every 6 to 8 hours if needed. This medication has a better lasting effect than acetaminophen. It lasts up to 8 hours, compared to 4 hours with Tylenol and Tempra.
Acetylsalicylic acid or ASA (Aspirin): Doctors recommend against giving Aspirin to children because of its negative side effects. ASA is associated with Reye’s syndrome, a rare and serious illness which provokes swelling of the brain and may even result in death.
Sources: CaringforKids.cps.ca and ROSS (Abbotts Laboratories)