This week, our medical pro address a reader's question about fevers:

Q: My 4-year-old has a fever. What can I give her to make it go down?

A: I get this question all the time. Parents worry about fever. Fever means our child is sick and we inevitably want to "do" something to make them better. However, I often counsel parents to think about fever differently. Fever is actually your friend. When your child suddenly spikes a fever, this means her immune system is working and doing its job of fighting an infection, whether that infection is viral or bacterial.

In fact, by not treating your child's fever, you are actually doing something. You're allowing your child's body to get rid of that infection sooner than if you were giving her acetaminophen or ibuprofen around the clock.

My advice is always to watch your child, not the number on the thermometer. If your child is eating, drinking, and tolerating her fever; let the fever run its course. If the fever starts climbing to 102 or higher and she is clearly wiped out, then yes, by all means give her a fever reducer to make her comfortable.

For more detailed information about your child and fever, see my post about it on my blog, Confessions of a Dr.Mom.


Medical Pro, Melissa Arca

Melissa Arca, M.D. is a board certified pediatrician, mom of two, writer, and blogger who has found her passion in writing and speaking about parenting and children's health. She realizes that parenting is not an exact science and offers her practical tips on handling common parenting dilemmas. In addition, she loves educating parents and children about their health and ways to improve it.

She authors a weekly Dr.Mom column in The Sacramento Bee and appears weekly on KCRA with Dr.Mom tips on a variety of pediatric health topics. Her blog, Confessions of a Dr.Mom, is truly the place where doctor and mom collide.

Dr.Arca received her undergraduate degree from UC Irvine and went on to obtain her medical degree from USC Keck School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency in 2003 from Children's Hospital Los Angeles and is a member of the AAP Council on Communication and Media.

She lives in Northern California with her husband and children, ages 4 and 6. They visit the ocean any free chance they get.


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