Fever – What is the correct dosage of medication for my child?

If your child has a fever, you naturally want to do all you can. Medication can help to relieve the symptoms of fever. In the health tip we explain when you should use medication and how to give your child the right dose.
80 or 125 milligrams? Paracetamol, or maybe ibuprofen? It’s not unusual for parents to have to decide which medication to give their children when they have a fever. Above all, parents are often uncertain about the correct dosage. But even choosing the right medication is not always easy.

Medication – yes or no?

A person is said to have a fever when their temperature exceeds 38.5°C. However, in the case of children, this fact alone is not enough to decide whether fever medication should be given or not. If a child continues to play as usual despite having a fever, there is no need to resort to medication. Fever is not a disease; it’s only a symptom of a range of illnesses. The actual temperature is not a reliable indicator of the severity of an illness or whether its cause is viral or bacterial. In principle, fever is part of the body's defence mechanisms and is therefore a "healthy" reaction.

Fever medication is given to a child in order to relieve symptoms. The child may be very "dull" and weepy, may not want to eat or drink, or may be sleeping badly due to fever.

Getting the dosage right

Unlike for adults, the medication dosage for children is based on the child’s body weight. Since children grow very quickly, this is the best way of ensuring that exactly the right amount of the active ingredient is provided. Too little or too much would not have the desired effect. For children weighing 6.5 kilograms or more, for example, 125 milligram suppositories are administered.

What if the medication doesn’t work?

First and foremost, it's important to understand that fever medication does not get rid of the fever completely. The fever should go down by approximately 0.5 to 1.0 degrees one hour after the medication has been administered. It is important to monitor the child at all times. For a period after taking the medication the child should play, drink, eat and sleep better than before. If the initial active ingredient (e.g. paracetamol) is not effective, it can be combined with a second (e.g. ibuprofen).

If a high fever (over 39°C) persists, the child should be taken to a paediatrician on the third day at the latest for a thorough examination in order to find out what’s wrong and decide how best to proceed.


14.08.2019
In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.