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Medications Used to Treat Fever

Treating your child’s fever

If your child is older than 6 months and has a fever, she probably does not need to be treated for the fever unless she is uncomfortable. Watch her behavior. If she is drinking, eating, sleeping normally, and is able to play, you should wait to see if the fever improves by itself and do not need to treat the fever.

What you can do

  • Keep her room comfortably cool.
  • Make sure that she is dressed in light clothing.
  • Encourage her to drink fluids such as water, diluted juices, or a store-bought electrolyte solution.
  • Be sure that she does not overexert herself.
  • Check with your doctor before giving medicine

How to improve your child’s comfort with medicine

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are safe and effective medicines if used as directed for improving your child’s comfort, and they may also decrease the fever. They do not need a prescription and are available at grocery stores and drugstores. However, keep the following in mind:


  • Ibuprofen should only be used for children older than 6 months. It should not be given to children who are vomiting constantly or are dehydrated.
  • Do not use aspirin to treat your child’s fever or discomfort. Aspirin has been linked with side effects such as an upset stomach, intestinal bleeding and, most seriously, Reye syndrome.
  • If your child is vomiting and cannot take anything by mouth, a rectal suppository may be needed. Acetaminophen comes in suppository form and can help reduce discomfort in a vomiting child.

Before giving your child any medicine, read the label to make sure that you are giving the right dose for his age and weight. Also, if your child is taking other medicines check the ingredients. If they include acetaminophen or ibuprofen, let your child’s doctor know. If your child is younger than 2 years, you should discuss any medications with your child's doctor to be safe. 

  • Note: In 2011 manufacturers began replacing infant acetaminophen drops 80 mg/0.8 mL with infant or children acetaminophen liquid 160 mg/5 mL. See Fever and Pain Medicines: How Much to Give Your Child for more information on the change in dosing amounts. If giving acetaminophen, be sure to tell your child’s doctor if you are using infant drops 80 mg/0.8 mL or infant or children’s liquid 160 mg/5 mL. 
Last Updated
Fever and Your Child (Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics, updated 5/2012)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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