Experts feel that fever has actually gotten a bad rap. “Fever is, in a way, a good thing. It’s a reflection of the body mounting its own defences to fight off infection,” notes Dr. Robert Bortolussi, professor of pediatrics at Halifax’s Dalhousie University, and chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Infection and Immunization Committee. Discomfort can be eased with a mild painkiller such as acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol or Tempra).
Very young children between six months and five years run the risk of suffering a febrile seizure as a result of a sharply increased temperature, and for kids in this age range, Dr. Bortolussi recommends a sponge bath in lukewarm water [90°F (32.2°C) to 95°F (35°C)] . Do not use cold water, ice, or rubbing alcohol, which will lower the child’s body temperature too quickly. Sponge for 20 to 30 minutes, stopping if the child starts to shiver. If your child doesn’t like the sponge bath or doesn’t feel better after the bath, there is no need to give another one.