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Is your Child Sick?


How your child is acting is more important than how high the fever is running. The terms lethargy and listless or acting sick can mean different things to different people. In order to tell how sick the child is acting when they have a fever, give an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen (see chart) and see how the child is acting about 1 to 2 hours after the dose. Many parents who call Dr. Christine Wood, of El Camino Pediatrics in Encinitas, CA find out they have not given enough acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The fever may not necessarily return to normal, but is often lower. Keep in mind that some children can be seriously ill without any fever.

A child is seriously ill if despite reducing the fever: Your baby is not making eye contact, refuses to feed, cries or cannot be comforted. Your toddler refuses to play, cries inconsolably, moans, appears very weak, turns away and stares repeatedly or is very hard to awaken if sleeping. An older child refuses to talk and won't interact or is unable to get out of bed. Keeps dropping off to sleep without periods of activity and difficult to arouse, as sick children do tend to sleep more.

If ever in doubt. ALWAYS call your pediatrician immediately.

This information was provided by Dr.Christine Wood,
Baby Corner medical expert, and owner of

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