Many adults are quick to reach for a familiar bottle of pills at the first sign of sickness. But children’s bodies can be more vulnerable and susceptible to dosage errors and side effects. For this reason, it is often recommended to parents to try natural means to reduce a child’s fever before administering medication.
These are some of the many methods that parents can try to reduce a child’s fever without pharmaceuticals.
While a damp washcloth may not make a fever go away, it may feel soothing to a child and aid relaxation. When the body is more calm and relaxed, it is better equipped to fight infection. Some natural health specialists suggest soaking a washcloth in a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water. Apple cider vinegar is a traditional home remedy that is used for various purposes.
If a child is old enough to eat solid foods, it may feel soothing to eat chilled foods that are rich in nutrients. Applesauce and fruit are good options for toddlers with fevers. But parents should be mindful of the fact that kids with fevers often don’t have good appetites. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D may also help reduce fevers.
When a child becomes older, popular home remedies for fevers may be introduced at parental discretion. These could include artichoke leaves, tulsi leaves, peppermint, elderflower, yarrow, lemon, olive oil, and garlic. Parents should consult with a pediatrician before experimenting with herbal remedies to ensure they are safe for young children.
Bathwater that is too cold may shock a child’s system and cause a fever to go even higher. Instead, parents can try running a lukewarm bath for a feverish child to bring the fever down. But if being in the bath makes the child more uncomfortable or irritable, remove him or her from the water and try another natural method instead. A cup of apple cider vinegar may be added to baths as well.
Feverish bodies need more fluids to get well again. For babies that are breastfeeding, mothers may want to nurse more often or offer each breast to the baby for a minute or two every 10-15 minutes. For bottle-fed babies, a newborn may need an extra fluid ounce of extra formula per feeding and a 12-month-old may need up to three fluid ounces of extra formula to make up for lost fluids. Toddlers can be offered frequent sips of diluted juice, milk, water, or an electrolyte drink.
Although a child with a fever should not be forced to stay in bed all day, parents should limit exercise and activities while the child’s body is run down and trying to recover. Overexerting oneself can cause a fever to become pronged and not respond to other natural treatments. Parents should keep the feverish child’s room cool and dress the child in cool fabrics.
If all of the strategies listed above have been exhausted and the child still does not have relief from the fever, it may be time to seek professional help. When natural means aren’t working, pediatricians often recommend gentle and effective over-the-counter fever and pain relief medications, like PediaCare. These treatments have the power to regulate symptoms associated with common fevers, control temperature, and reduce pain. Always follow the directions of age-appropriate OTC medications on the label and provide dosages as recommended.
In this parental guide to fever relief, PediaCare provides resources for parents seeking answers for their child's special circumstances. Medicine made for kids, helps getting better easier!