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John Jones, MD
Your Child Has a High Fever and Cough, Now What?
Simplicity Urgent Care

Your Child Has a High Fever and Cough, Now What?

It always seems to happen at 6 p.m. You left your happy, healthy baby at the daycare center this morning, and now you have a cranky baby with a runny nose, cough, and fever. Since your pediatrician's office is closed for the day, you know you can either wait until morning to make an appointment or take your child to the nearest emergency room or urgent care center. But, are you overreacting?

First and foremost, it is never wrong to take your child to the emergency room or an urgent care center that is what they are there for. Trust your parental instincts because you know in your gut when something is wrong with your kid.

Emergency rooms and urgent care facilities will provide your child with a full work-up and ease your worry about their illness.

If you decide to not immediately go to an urgent care facility and your child has a fever, rest assured that a relatively high fever in a small child is usually not harmful because raising the body's temperature is its method of fighting off infections.

In fact, in some countries doctors do not advise using ibuprofen or acetaminophen because they want to let the fever take its course.

In the United States, most physicians advise taking antipyretics (i.e., Children's Tylenol or Children's Motrin), which knock down the fever. When determining the proper dose of Children's Tylenol or Children's Motrin for children over six months, be sure to administer the proper amount based on your child's weight not their age. Even a small amount under the required dosage based on weight will render the entire dose ineffective.

Here are some rules of thumb for administering Motrin

  • If your child is 22 pounds, give them 1 teaspoon.
  • If your child is 33 pounds, give them 1 and 1/2 teaspoon.
  • If your child is 44 pounds, give 2 teaspoons, (10 mls).

It is important to note that children under six months should not be given Motrin at home. Treatment should be discussed with your pediatrician, emergency room physician, or urgent care physician.

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