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posted: 7/13/2011 4:00 AM

Fight a fever? Not so fast, please

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When a child is feeling under the weather, the first thing a parent reaches for is the thermometer. The numbers on the digital readout will help the parent decide what to do next: call the doctor, give a fever-reducing medicine or send them outside to play.

However a clinical report in the March issue of Pediatrics by the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests the digital readout should get less consideration than parents now give it.

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Fever exists to fight infection. So when a child has a fever, but is feeling OK you don't need to reduce the fever. The primary goal, according the to AAP report, should be to make the child comfortable, as opposed to looking for "normal" readings.

Give fluids, check for signs of serious illness and monitor activity and general well-being, but reach for the fever-reducing medicine only if the child's comfort level requires it. And don't wake a sleeping child to give a fever reducer.

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