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Sponge Bath for a Child's Fever


Topic Overview

A sponge bath may be given if:

  • Your child's fever is 104 A?F (40 A?C) or higher and
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen has not lowered the temperature and
  • Your child is very uncomfortable.

Give your child an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen before giving him or her a sponge bath. Wait 30 minutes to see whether the medicine brings the child's fever below 104 A?F (40 A?C).

Give a sponge bath as follows:

  • Use lukewarm water [90 A?F (32.2 A?C) to 95 A?F (35 A?C)] . Do not use cold water, ice, or rubbing alcohol, which will lower the child's body temperature too quickly.
  • Sponge for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Stop if the child starts to shiver.

If your child doesn't like the sponge bath or doesn't feel better after the bath, there is no need to give another one.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedApril 14, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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