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Treating the Common Cold in Children

Although fever can be frightening for parents, it actually is a good sign as your child's body is fighting off the virus that is causing the cold symptoms. By raising body temperature, fever actually helps the immune (infection-fighting) system. Still, fever can make children feel miserable, and in a small percentage of people, fever that goes up too quickly or too high can cause a seizure. There are things you can do to reduce fever and to help your child feel more comfortable:

  • Give your child lots of liquids (such as broth, apple juice, flavored ices or water) in order to keep well hydrated, as fevers will cause your child to use extra fluid.

  • Dress your child in light clothing and use light-weight bed linens. Overdressing your child can cause discomfort from being too warm.

  • Try acetaminophen or ibuprofen  to bring down the fever. Be sure to read dosage directions carefully.

  • For high fevers that are not coming down with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, try giving your child a lukewarm bath. Do not use cold water, as this will make your child shiver, which will raise body temperature.

A temperature higher than 102F/39C should prompt a call to your doctor.

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