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My Child's Fever Hasn't Dropped Even With Meds — What Should I Do?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Sehat · Updated Jun 30, 2022

My Child's Fever Hasn't Dropped Even With Meds — What Should I Do?

A fever that refuses to go down can cause worry for any parent, especially if your child has already taken fever-reducing drugs such as paracetamol. As always, parents need to monitor the child’s condition and ensure that they keep eating and drinking. But in such situations, knowing how to bring down a fever in a child can be helpful, as well as knowing when to bring the child to a doctor

Why Is My Child’s Fever Not Going Down?

Fever is a condition that is commonly experienced by children. It is a sign that the body is suffering from an infection or inflammation.

Most fevers, as they are usually caused by viruses, go away on their own after 3-5 days or after your child takes fever-reducing medication. Knowing how to bring down a fever in a child through medicine or natural remedies can help. In fact, a child’s fever may immediately go down by taking over-the-counter medicine.

However, if the fever does not go away after 2-3 days, this could indicate a more serious problem.

The following are possible causes of fever in children that does not go down.

1. Improper Use of Drugs

Medicine is a simple method of how to bring down a fever in a child. But you must pay close attention to the dosage of medicine. The dose of the drug is specific to the age and weight of the child.

According to the NPS Medicinewise website, here are the rules for use for paracetamol and ibuprofen.

  • The average recommended dose of paracetamol (15mkd) for children aged 1 month to 12 years is between 10-20mg depending on the child’s body weight. This should be taken 3-4 times a day or every 4-6 hours.
  • Theaverage or usual dose of ibuprofen (5mkd) for children aged 3 months to 12 years is 5-10 mg depending on the child’s body weight. Drink a maximum of 3 times a day or about 6-8 hours.

Improper use of any drug can cause the drug to be ineffective.

2. The Main Cause of Illness Is Not Addressed

Fever is not a disease. It is only a symptom of inflammation or infection in the body. Therefore, when it comes to how to bring down a fever in a child, it is important to provide treatment for the specific infection that your child is experiencing. 

Causes of a child’s prolonged fever may include any of the following factors:

  • impaired immune system making it difficult to fight infection
  • cancer, especially leukemia (blood cancer)
  • chemotherapy side effects
  • lung disease
  • inflammation of the intestines
  • inflammation that affects blood vessels

If one of the conditions above is the cause of your child’s fever, prolonged fever may also be followed by other specific symptoms of the underlying disease.

If a child experiences a prolonged fever, the symptoms that appear usually include the following:

  • temperatures above 38ºC in children, or above 37.5ºC in infants
  • sweating profusely
  • body feels hot and cold
  • headache
  • body or joint pain
  • weakness
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • red rash on the skin
  • clogged nose

how to bring down a fever in a child

Should You Worry If Your Child’s Fever Doesn’t Go Down?

Not all fevers are dangerous.

If your child has the following behaviors or symptoms, you should not worry too much:

  • Body temperature is less than 38°C.
  • The little one stays cheerful and plays actively.
  • The child’s appetite is good.
  • Your child drinks lots of water.
  • Your baby’s skin color remains normal.
  • The child’s condition improves when the fever goes down.

Even though the child’s fever does not go down but they show the characteristics above, it is likely that there is no serious problem. Give your child plenty of water and nutritious food to speed up their recovery. And if necessary, give them medication according to their symptoms.

how to bring down a fever in a child

When To See a Doctor

If the fever does not go down in babies aged less than 2 months , you should immediately consult a doctor.

Do not give drugs to your baby unless your doctor advises you to do so. Your little one’s body at that age is still very vulnerable.

In children who are older, you can give fever-reducing drugs according to the recommended dose while continuing to monitor their condition.

If your child has a fever, look for the following symptoms:

  • a high fever with a body temperature of 39°C or more
  • temperature when measured through the anus (to get the core body temperature) reaches 38°C
  • crying non-stop
  • very fussy
  • severe headache
  • hard to wake up
  • stiff neck
  • convulsive body
  • in infants, a forehead that appears to protrude or recede inwards
  • blue spots on the surface of the skin
  • lips and nails look bluish
  • difficulty breathing even after clearing the nose
  • difficulty swallowing and drooling
  • bleeding
  • bulging fontanelles in infants
  • lethargy

If your child experiences any of the above symptoms, immediately go to the nearest emergency room. These are signs of serious illness.

On the other hand, consult a doctor if your child shows the following symptoms.

  • The child’s temperature does not go down for 3 consecutive days, or 24 hours if they are under 2 years old.
  • The cause of the fever or the location of the infection is not known within 24 hours.
  • The fever only went down for a while.
  • Your child feels a burning sensation or pain when urinating.
  • The fever has gone down in the past 24 hours but comes back.
  • The child has a history of febrile seizures.
  • Child experiences diarrhea and vomiting.
  • The child has signs of dehydration.
  • You observe a rash on the surface of your child’s skin.
  • Your child has no appetite and difficulty drinking water.

How To Bring Down a Fever in a Child: What Parents Can Do

If a child’s fever does not go down for 3 days, you should immediately consult a doctor to find the best solution.

In addition, the following may help in how to bring down a fever in a child:

  • Make sure you follow the correct dosage of drugs and indications of use. Make sure your child drinks their medicine on a regular schedule.
  • Try changing drugs, for example from paracetamol to ibuprofen. (Also, make sure your child eats first before taking ibuprofen.)
  • Do not readily mix ibuprofen and paracetamol to treat fever in children.
  • Never give aspirin to infants or toddlers.
  • Place a lukewarm compress on your child’s head.
  • Give your child a bath with lukewarm or tepid water to lower body temperature more quickly.
  • Make sure your little one drinks lots of water and eats nutritious food.

Knowing how to bring down a fever in a child can help bring relief from the symptoms they are experiencing. To optimize treatment as soon as possible while preventing the condition from getting worse, it’s always a good idea to bring your child to a doctor.

Learn more about common childhood illnesses here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Hello Sehat · Updated Jun 30, 2022

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