A fever lasting more than five days concerns most parents. Usually, a fever is the body's way of fighting an infection. A viral infection or bacterial infection might be to blame for your child's fever. With a prolonged fever, it's important to know when to seek medical attention. Use a few strategies to make your child comfortable and reduce his fever.
A fever lasting five days or longer puts your child at risk for dehydration. Encourage your child to drink fluids frequently. Diluted juice, water and broth are a few choices. You also can offer an electrolyte replacement solution to your child. If your child has a dry, sticky mouth or cries without tears, seek medical attention. These are signs of dehydration.
Use a lukewarm sponge bath to decrease your child's fever. Place her in the water. Use a sponge or washcloth to spread water on her arms, legs and torso. This helps cool the body. Watch your child carefully. If she starts to shiver, remove her from the bath. Shivering is bad for a fever. It generates body heat, creating a higher fever in your child.
Fever reducers aren't usually recommended for low-grade fevers; however, your doctor might recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen for a high fever. Use these medications as directed by your child's pediatrician. An overdose of acetaminophen and ibuprofen can damage a child's kidneys or even cause death, according to MayoClinic.com. Avoid the use of aspirin in children. This medicine might trigger a rare and fatal condition called Reye's syndrome.
Fever Red Flags
If your child's fever lasts longer than three days, it's time to call the doctor, recommends MayoClinic.com. She can evaluate your child and diagnosis your child's illness. For a bacterial infection, she might administer antibiotics. For a child younger than 2, call the doctor with a fever lasting two days or longer.
Other red flags include a child who is vomiting repeatedly or is irritable and unresponsive. Seek medical attention if your child has these symptoms. When in doubt, call your doctor for guidance. Usually, by the fifth day of a fever, it's time for a trip to the pediatrician.