Welcome to the inaugural post of the Kids Doc Blog, a collaborative effort of pediatricians (kids docs) of Rush-Copley Medical Group (RCMG). I am Dr. Eva Alessia, D.O., FAAP, your Madame of Ceremonies for this post. We are four lovely ladies (Drs. Ababio, Keller, Kumar and yours truly) and one distinguished gentleman (Dr. Granoff), the patriarch of the group. We are all parents or parents-to-be and are here to guide you down that fun, crazy and sometimes scary path called parenthood. Our blog will discuss various topics, questions or situations that we are asked a lot in the office or after hours. We’ll also throw in some snippets or observations from our own personal experience, and maybe even an awesome recipe or two! We all have our own personalities and practice styles, so we will each bring a different perspective to this blog. We hope you enjoy our blog and learn a lot!
Ok, a little about me. I was born in Chicago and grew up in the south suburbs (Lansing, IL). I am 100% Hungarian and an only child. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was 8 years old. I am married (not to a doctor) and have two sons. Andrew is 16 and recently got his driver’s license and James is almost 14 and is graduating from eighth grade this year! In my free time, when I am not being a mother, daughter, wife, doctor, chauffeur, homework helper, etc., I like to read, listen to music, watch movies, be with my family and friends and bake (hence the recipes). I am also involved in my church as a lector and adult leader for the youth group. Ok, enough about me. Let’s get to the “meat” of this post. Let’s talk about fevers.
Fevers are actually a good thing; it means your child’s body is fighting the infection. Fevers last for about 3 to 4 days on average. If your child’s fever is higher, it doesn’t necessarily mean your child is sicker or has something more serious going on. What matters is how your child looks and is acting. Some kids are happy and active and their fever is 103 F; another child has a fever of 101 F and is just lying around on the couch. Fever generally causes no harm until it reaches 107 F. We have seen fevers of 106 F in the office with viruses, such as flu. Try not to treat the fever until it reaches 102 or 103 F. However, if your child is uncomfortable and the fever is lower, go ahead and treat.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Feverall) can be used for all ages. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) is for ages 6 months and older. Aspirin is not recommended; if given during a viral infection, it could cause Reye’s Syndrome (a serious illness). Fevers usually come down 2 to 3 degrees with treatment, within 2 hours of giving medication, but don’t be surprised if they spike right back up after the medicine has worn off. Even if the medicine doesn’t touch the fever, that doesn’t mean your child is seriously sick.
Alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen doesn’t make the fever go away any faster and generally is not necessary. However, consider it if the fever is more than 104 F. Alternate every 4 hours and only for 24 hours or less. Encourage extra fluids and dress the child like Goldilocks: not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Consider bath if fever is 104 F and doesn’t start to drop within 30 minutes of giving medication. The temperature of the water should be around 100 F. Place your child in the tub and pour cupfuls of water onto his body. As the water evaporates, it cools the body down. It’s just like when you get out of the pool in the summer and you feel cold before you have a chance to towel off. Once the child starts to shiver slightly, take him out and dress him. And, do not add rubbing alcohol to the water; it can be breathed in and lead to a coma.
That’s all fine and good Dr. Alessia, but when should I call you or your partners? Call if your child is less than 3 months old, has a fever over 105 F or is looking and acting very sick. Also, call one of us if your infant has a temp LESS than 97.5 F. Low temperatures can be serious too! I have included links to how to check a child’s temperature, dosing charts for medications and fever treatment. Thanks for visiting our blog! Check back regularly for more info!