Aches, Pain, Fever (cont.)

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What is the treatment for a fever?

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 doctor.

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 pediatrician. Adults without liver disease or other health problems can take 1,000 mg (two "extra strength" tablets) every 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 mg-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's syndrome. Reye's 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/27/2014

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