Hello again, motherfathers.
It's your turn today.
I realize that just because it's probably covered in "What To Expect: Baby's First Year" in half a dozen places, there's no excuse for thinking any of you parents have actually READ anything like that. Because that would just be silly, right?
So, baby has a fever.
How would you know? A rare device, known as a thermometer.
So maybe, just for the helluvit, buy one, read the directions, and learn how to use it.
And pay attention to why we do rectal temps on peds under 12 months, because it's the most accurate, not because we want to molest your child's diapers.
So if it's 101 or higher, it's really a fever. Not 99. not 99.9.
What to do, what to do??
Here's a Top Secret - Presidential/Codeword level solution, that's usually only available to highly skilled professionals, for treating the enormous medical emergency that is most fevers for children from 6 months to 6 years of age:
What's that? You say you have that at home? Well, let me fill in the gaps in your parental caregiving: it only works when you GIVE IT to your child. (!)
Easy there, have a seat, put your head between your knees, all that blood rushing to your head can give you a little rush at times, right? Take a deep breath, because now we're going to go full-tilt CRAZY:
You can even give it AGAIN, every 4 hours!!
OMG, who knew?!? I mean seriously, it isn't like it isn't written on the bottle, on the paper inside the box, and on the outside of the box. How would anyone find it that way, right? I mean, if it was REALLY IMPORTANT, clearly they'd have hired skywriters to come and fly over your house once a week, or even sent the Goodyear blimp over the neighborhood during cold and flu season.
But wait! There's MORE!!
I know this is news to many new parents, but fevers don't usually go away after one whole dose of Tylenol. But that's okay, motherfathers.
You can not only give it at home, and keep giving it at home, you can keep doing it for UP TO THREE DAYS!!
Contain yourselves. I KNOW how much wild fun it is to bring all three-four-five of your not-sick children, along with the one sick one, sign them all in "since you're here anyways", and sit around for a few hours with all the kids who might have RSV, flu, meningitis, whooping cough, not to mention all the suicidal adults, and the ones with blood spurting out of their heads (and then there are the patients like that, too!).
But instead of not-getting-a-babysitter, and parading the whole clan down to visit us for a not-being-sick waiting room TV party, you could actually take a stab at managing the lethal tropical disease "fever" at home for those three days, and see if it breaks on its own. And trust me, it won't hurt our feelings one bit.
Now to really blow your mind:
1) you can give accurate weight based doses, instead of age based doses of acetaminophen (Tylenol). Holy crap!
a) pay attention to your child's weight at each regular doctor's checkup, or >gasp!< get a bathroom scale of your very own, and then
b) follow the AAP doctor's recommendation of giving 10mg of Tylenol per kilogram your baby weighs!
So if kiddo weighs 8 kilos, that'd be the 0.8 line on the dropper in the Tylenol bottle.
If kiddo weighs 16 kilograms (35 pounds and change) that'd be two droppers full to the same 0.8 line!!
Wow! Math! It's like...Rocket Science!!!
2) if your child is over 6 months of age, and has no kidney or liver issues, or other concerns (your pediatrician can cover this in 30 seconds at a checkup)
you could ALSO give Children's IBUPROFEN liquid!
***Pay attention, read the label, the dosage and frequency is different than Tylenol.***
For instance, ibuprofen is every 6 hours, whereas Tylenol is every 4.
But hold on to your hats:
You could, for example, check for fever, and give Tylenol at 12.
Then check for fever, and if it's back, give ibuprofen at 3.
Then check for fever, and if it's back, give Tylenol at 6.
Then check for fever, and if it's back, give ibuprofen at 9.
Then repeat all of that again, every 12 hours, for three days, and only THEN come in to see us. And following that example, never overdose your child, but still keep them comfortable by treating them every 3 hours instead of every 4 or 6. It's a science miracle!
What's that? You say the fever keeps coming back?
If you give the medicine, and the fever doesn't go down a half hour later or so, THAT is a good reason to come in sooner.
If you give the medicine, the fever goes down, and comes back in 3-4 hours, THAT is called a normal fever. Which is why you keep checking, and keep medicating it. 'kay?
Now, at the other end, when the fever gets over 103, there's a few things you might try.
First, for mi amigos whose ethnicity saw their parents and ancestors originating from anywhere between, say, El Paso and Tierra Del Fuego, you could, as a suggestion, remove the t-shirt, pants, onesie, socks, booties, mittens, jacket, scarf, fur cap, four blankets, and the three rolls of Reynolds Wrap great grandmama burrito-wrapped your bebe inside. Wait about 5 minutes, then re-check your nino/nina.
If it's really over 103, it's time for a tepid (not hot, cold, or icewater frigid, just a wee bit comfortably cooler than body temp) bathtub trip. In WATER. Not alcohol, or any other thing. Please don't wait until your child's "Motherfather, I'm Freakin' ROASTING!" Febrile Seizure Attention-Getting Alarm goes off. Trust me on this.
Now, if you've done all this first (Thank you! Thank you!), and/or your child is less than a month or two old, it's Friday/Saturday/Sunday night, or a three-day holiday weekend, and/or your pediatrician is on vacation in Timbuktu, or your child had the febrile seizure, or is also throwing up the medicine and everything else for more than a day, or also has a screaming headache/stiff neck/can't stand the bright light, or is tugging their ear(s), or is being treated for any form of oncology problem, thanks, and come right on down to see us.
But don't think you have to torture your kid by not treating their fever, just so we'll "see it".
If you tell us your kid had a fever, we believe you. Having them come in screaming, and with lava shooting out of their heads, really isn't necessary to sell us on the idea that sometimes babies get sick.
All we ask is that you take a crack at handling the simple stuff, for your sanity, and ours.