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Health Tips for Parents

Below are some tips from our school nurse for parents dealing with sick children.

Taking a child's temperature

Every home needs a thermometer.  You can get a basic oral thermometer for a few dollars at any drug store, Target, or Walmart.

The temperature should be taken prior to giving any medication especially pain/fever reducing medication.

Oral temperature

  • Be sure your child has not taken a cold or hot drink within the last 30 minutes.
  • If using a glass oral thermometer, shake it until the mercury line is below 98.6° F (37° C).
  • Place the tip of the thermometer under one side of the tongue and toward the back. An accurate temperature depends on proper placement. Ask a physician or nurse to show you where it should go.
  • Have your child hold it in place with the lips and fingers (not the teeth) and breathe through the nose, keeping the mouth closed.
  • Leave it inside for 3 minutes.
  • If your child can't keep his or her mouth closed because of nose blockage, or because of age, you will need to take an axillary temp.

Axillary temperature

  • Place the tip of the thermometer in a dry armpit.
  • Close the armpit by holding the elbow against the chest for 4 to 5 minutes. You may miss detecting a fever if the thermometer is removed before 4 minutes.

There are other types of thermometers on the market that take only a few seconds to read your child’s temp.   These cost more but are much less cumbersome.  If you choose this route, please read and follow the directions carefully.

Reducing Fever

In order to reduce a fever try Acetaminophen (generic name for Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (generic name for Motrin or Advil). Either Children’s or junior strength. Follow directions carefully for dosage by weight.

If you are giving your child more than one medication, please be sure to read the ingredient label.  Many cold /cough medications also contain acetaminophen.  You can cause liver damage in your child by giving to much acetaminophen.

Please also remember a low grade fever really doesn’t need to be treated.  Check with your physician for his recommendations. Running a fever is one of our body’s ways to fight illness!

St. Timothy’s
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