Generally, if the fever does not cause discomfort, the fever itself need not be treated. It is not necessary to awaken an adult or child to treat a fever unless instructed to do so by your health-care practitioner.
The following fever-reducing medications may be used at home:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) can be used to lower a fever. The recommended pediatric dose can be suggested by the child's health-care provider. Adults without liver disease or other health problems can take 1,000 mg (two "extra strength" tablets) every four to six hours or as directed by your physician.
- Ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) can also be used to break a fever in patients over 6 months of age. Discuss the best dose with your doctor. For adults, 400-600 mg (two to three 200 mg tablets) can be used every six hours.
- Aspirin should not be used for fever in children or adolescents. Aspirin use in children and adolescents during a viral illness (especially chickenpox and influenza, or flu) has been associated with Reye syndrome. Reye syndrome is a dangerous illness which causes prolonged vomiting, confusion, and even coma and liver failure.
An individual with a fever should be kept comfortable and not overdressed. Overdressing can cause the temperature to rise further. Tepid water (85 F [30 C]) baths are a home remedy that may help bring down a fever. Never immerse someone in ice water. This is a common misconception. Never sponge a child or an adult with alcohol; the alcohol fumes may be inhaled, causing many problems.
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