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Everything You Need to Know About Fever

Fever relievers

To help your baby feel better fast:

Offer him plenty to drink Prolonged fever can lead to dehydration, so continue with breastfeeding or formula. Your doctor may also recommend giving your child a rehydrating solution, such as Pedialyte, ReVital, or Gerber LiquiLytes.

Make him comfortable Don't try to help a child "sweat out" a fever by bundling him up; that will make it last longer. Dress him in lightweight, breathable clothes.

Consider using medication It's safe to use acetaminophen (Infant Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Infant Motrin, Infant Advil) if you get the okay  -- and the proper dosage  -- from your doctor. (Never give aspirin; it's been linked to Reye's syndrome, a disease that affects the brain and the liver.) While ibuprofen's effects can last for six to eight hours, it's not approved for use in infants under 6 months of age.
Acetaminophen lasts for only four hours, but it's gentler on the stomach and can be given to newborns. Don't alternate doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen without talking to your pediatrician first. "It's vital you write down every dose and medicine you give," says Dr. Stegelman. "Mixing medications can be confusing and could put children at risk of an overdose."

Try a sponge bath Research suggests that a lukewarm sponge bath will help lower your baby's temperature if given 30-45 minutes after he takes fever-reducing medication. Don't put your child in cold water  -- shivering will only warm him up  -- and take him out if he appears uncomfortable. Never try to cool him down with rubbing alcohol as it can be toxic if inhaled.

Above all, relax! Most kids bounce back from a fever in a day or two. With a healthy dose of TLC, your child should be well again in no time.

Lisa Collier Cool is an award-winning health and parenting writer based in New York, and a mother of three.

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