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A member asked:

Can rubbing alcohol reduce a baby's fever?

5 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sharon Gilliland
Pediatrics 37 years experience
No: Do not use rubbing alcohol to reduce your child's fever. The fumes from the alcohol can be dangerous to a child.
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-healy
Pediatrics 40 years experience
No: If you use rubbing alcohol on a chiilds skin you risk both absorption through the skin as well as inhalation of the fumes, both toxic to children.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 34 years experience
No: The quick answer is "no", because rubbing alcohol on babies is not done nowadays. Alcohol on the skin evaporates, and so cools the skin down. It is possible that the fever will decrease if enough skin-cooling occurs. But just as likely, the cooled skin will cause the baby to shiver and generate more heat (and appear more ill). Current fever treatment is to use tylenol, (acetaminophen) motrin, or similar drugs.
Dr. William Nall
Sports Medicine 16 years experience
Nope: Yeah, don't do that plus it will dry out the skin too.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 47 years experience
70's medicine: This practice was on its way out in the early 70's after the potential toxic effects on baby were noted.Chilling the skin turns on shivering and drives up fever. When absolutely necessary, a doc can run chilled saline into the stomach and back to reduce fever, avoiding the skin sensors and the shiver effect.Most kids do well with simple meds. (a cold bath is just as bad)
Last updated Mar 13, 2018


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