Many people ask about how to dose ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen. Some parents choose to alternate the two medications every three hours. Studies have demonstrated that this strategy does not provide superior relief to accurate around-the-clock dosing of either medicine alone. For example, if your child takes an appropriate dose of ibuprofen (10 mg/kg) every 6 hours, you will be able to keep the fever down. Similarly, if your child takes an appropriate dose of acetaminophen (15 mg/kg) every 4 hours, you will be able to keep the fever down.

When thinking about the fever, remember that the human body is unbelievably capable of keeping temperature at a safe level under 106º F. A high fever rarely poses a threat to a child. Rather, it is important to keep the temperature down for three reasons. First, it allows you to evaluate just how sick your child is. On the one hand, if the fever comes down but your little one still looks sick, this requires urgent attention. On the other hand, if the fever comes down and your little one looks close to his/her normal self, you can rest assured that you do not need to seek care immediately. Second, kids are uncomfortable with high fevers. Bringing the fever down allows kids to be more comfortable as they fight the illness. Third, your metabolism increases with a high fever, and this takes energy and can push kids into dehydration.

Some argue that the body raises the temperature to allow the body to fight more efficiently. This is absolutely true. This is where you need to separate the practical from the academic. Practically speaking, the immunologic benefit you receive from allowing a fever to remain is marginal compared to the benefits associated with bringing the fever down. We hope this helps, and we are always available if you have any other questions.