Fever Facts

Expert advice on OTC fever treatment options:

» Choose appropriately. Ibuprofen lasts longer (dose every 6 hours) than acetaminophen, but can upset the stomach. Pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., suggests using acetaminophen (dose every 4 hours) on an empty stomach or for stomach viruses, and ibuprofen in other cases (especially at night).

» Be precise. Infants’ formulas are more concentrated than children’s, and dosage amounts vary according to body weight. “Always use the dropper or cup that comes with the package and read the directions,” says Brown.

» Don’t expect miracles. “Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen are good fever reducers—not fever eliminators,” Brown points out. “At best they’ll bring down the temperature by two degrees.”

» Avoid aspirin. In rare cases, aspirin has caused Reye Syndrome (a serious, sometimes fatal, illness) in kids with fl u or chicken pox. So opt not to use it, advises the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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