Fever Control

Various steps may reduce a fever and make your child more comfortable, and there are also some things to be avoided:

1. Offer cool liquids to drink frequently – this will not only directly cool the body by placing something cool in the stomach but will also prevent dehydration which itself can exacerbate a fever.

2. Keep the child lightly dressed – don’t wrap him up. Keep the environment comfortable – neither too hot nor cold. Limit activity and encourage rest.

3. Give either Acetaminophen every 4 hours (Tylenol, Panadol, Feverall, Pediacare, others) or Ibuprofen every 6 hours (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, others). Ibuprofen costs more, the liquid tastes better, and it even works a bit faster/better,  it may also have more side effects (mostly in the category of stomach upset) than Acetaminophen.

4. Never use cold water bathing, tub or sponge, as a means to bring down a fever. Doing this short-circuits the natural means of radiating heat from the body and can actually lead to a rapid rise in temperature at the body core which could set off a febrile seizure.

5. Never use aspirin. This drug has been associated with increased side effects and with possible precipitation of Reye’s syndrome, a very serious disorder.


Forms & Strengths of Acetaminophen available are as follows:

Important news for parents and caregivers


Dosing directions for infants’ acetaminophen products have changed!


80mg/0.8ml (old product concentration)
160mg/5ml (new product concentration)


Children’s elixir: 160mg per teaspoonful
Chewable tablets (many flavors): 80mg & 160mg sizes
Tablets/Capsules/Caplets 325mg & 500mg sizes
Suppositories 60mg, 80mg, 120mg, & 325mg sizes


Dosage of Acetaminophen is best figured as follows:



6 X (child’s weight in lbs) = mg every 4h
15 X (child’s weight in kg) = mg every 4h
(maximum dose = 1000mg)


(or, see the quick dosing chart below)


There is a considerable margin of safety in this medication’s dose – you may therefore round up or down to the nearest convenient amount (e.g. if you calculate 140mg give 160, if you calculate 90 give 80, etc.) The suppositories are particularly useful if a child is vomiting or refuses to take medications. However: these doses are for acute, short term fever management only… if Acetaminophen is used chronically, long term (>1wk) for something like chronic pain they should either be reduced by 33% or given 5 rather than 6 times per day.


Ibuprofen is available as:


Children’s liquid (non-prescription) 100mg per teaspoonful
Chewable Tablets (prescription only) 100mg each
Tablets (non-prescription) 200mg each


Ibuprofen dosage is calculated:


4 X (child’s weight in lbs) = mg every 6h
10 X (child’s weight in kg) = mg every 6h
(maximum dose = 600mg)


(or, see the quick dosing chart below)