A fever in a child
can be worrying to parents, and is one of the most common reasons
parents seek a pediatrician’s care. To help pediatricians educate
parents and families about fever and “fever phobia,” the American
Academy of Pediatrics has issued a clinical report, “Fever and Antipyretic Use in Children,” published in the March 2011 print issue of Pediatrics
(published online Feb. 28).
Fever is a physiological mechanism that
has beneficial effects in fighting infection. Although many parents
administer antipyretics (medications to reduce a fever) such as
acetaminophen or ibuprofen to a child to reduce a fever, the report
emphasizes that the primary goal should be to help the child feel more
comfortable, rather than to maintain a “normal” temperature.
While there is some evidence that
combination therapy (alternating doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen)
may be more effective at lowering body temperature, questions remain
about whether it is safe and whether it helps children feel more
comfortable. Combination therapy also increases the risk of inaccurate
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.