Parents with young kids have really been going through it with illnesses the past six months. If you feel like your kids have been relentlessly sick for months on end… you’re not alone. In any year, it’s normal for kids under 6 to get sick 7+ times a year (nope, not a typo). But this season, kids’ illnesses have truly spun out of control. Parents are literally battling with actual quadra-demics on a back-to-back basis.
We get it. Next time your kid gets sick, avoid the frantic Googling, we’ve done the research and here are the three things you need to remember:
For Fevers, Remember 24/3
First of all, it’s not even considered an “official” fever until it’s over 100.4 degrees. But if goes over, don’t freak out just yet. Doctors care most about the duration of the fever. So don’t freak out until a fever of 104+ lasts 24 hours, OR when a lower fever lasts more than 3 days.
The rule’s different for babies, of course. If a newborn has any fever at all, call your doctor. If your baby’s 3-6 months, the number to remember is 101 degrees.
Rotate to Reduce
Two proven over-the-counter fever reducers are acetaminophen (like Tylenol) and ibuprofen for kids 12 and under. But if it’s just not working to reduce fever and discomfort, you can combine try rotating between the two. This clinic provides a handy schedule: administer one medication at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m., and the other at 12 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m.
Also, here’s a nice dosage table we’re printing and taping into our medicine cabinet. Of course, consult with your doctor!
24 Hrs for Reintegration
Most schools or daycares have their own rules for when a child can return to school after being sick. One easy rule of thumb is your child shouldn’t return to school / daycare until they’ve gone 24 hours without a fever (and they didn’t need medication to keep it down). Your child’s school or daycare may have stricter guidelines, so double-check.
3 More Surprising Rules
- When your child has a fever, doctors encourage you to pay close attention to behavior change, even more closely than the number on the thermometer. If your child’s energy, appetite, and breathing is unchanged then the fever is just an indicator that your child’s immune system is handling the illness well. But if they become lethargic, start breathing fast (or wheezing), or they show signs of dehydration, then seek medical attention.
- When it comes to fevers, keeping your child hydrated is more important than keeping them well-fed. Give them extra fluids, and make sure they are at least taking little sips every few minutes.
- There are so many cool no-touch thermometers out there, but the best way to take a child’s temperature is still the old-fashioned way. For kids 3 years old or younger, rectal is best. We know rectal thermometers make parents nervouse, so here’s one that’s less scary.