Reducing Your Child's Fever

Expert Q&A

Person's hand examining fever of a boy
What do you do when your kids have a fever?. Eric Audras / Getty Images

Q. What is the best way to reduce fever in an irritable child who doesn't want to take medicine? She used to like taking medicine. Her face and ears are red. She cries when you try to give her Tylenol and spits it back up. Lillian, Forest Heights, MD

A. One simple thing might be to just try a different medication or a different flavor of the same fever reducer.

Fever Reducers

While some kids simply don't like to take any medicine, others are just picky.

For example, Infants' Tylenol Oral Suspension comes in different flavors, including grape and cherry.

There are also different forms of Tylenol, in addition to the oral suspension, including FeverAll suppository form of Acetaminophen, which can be given to infants over 3 months of age.

If she is over 6 months old and won't take Tylenol, you might change over to a fever reducer with ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin.

Reducing Your Child's Fever

Giving your child plenty of fluids to drink and maybe even trying a lukewarm sponge bath might also help to lower her temperature.

Things to avoid include:

  • using rubbing alcohol or cold water in a sponge bath
  • giving your child aspirin - because of the risk of Reye Syndrome
  • overdressing her or using heavy blankets

You should also avoid repeating the doses of Tylenol that your child spits up, unless instructed to do so by your pediatrician.

Do You Have To Treat Your Child's Fever?

While you certainly don't have to always try and reduce your child's fever, it is likely a good idea if your child has a fever and is irritable.

  The fever isn't going to help your child get better any faster, whatever is causing it.

And be sure to call your pediatrician if she continues to have a fever or continues to be irritable, even after you get her temperature to come down.

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