21 answers

Fever in 18 Month Old - How Long Before Acetometaphin / Tylenol Works?

I have an 18 month old who is experiencing her first fever! How long does it take for the Tylenol to bring it back down to normal?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone to let me know how to handle the first fever for my 18 month old. She responded to Tylenol and then the fever came back the next morning. After another dose of Tylenol it went away and did not come back. She had no other symptoms unless she is getting her 2yr molars early, but I cannot see them. She may have a little bit of sinus drainage, but it is clear, so maybe it was allergy related.
Thanks again everyone...TS

Featured Answers

Hi T.S. with my boys tylenol didn't work, only motrin did. If you are not having any success with the tylenol, I suggest trying the motrin. L. S.

Every time my son gets a fever my doctor has told me to get him down to his diaper. Give him the Tylenol (takes about 15-20min to kick in) and then get a wet cool wash cloth and wet down his face, neck, and hair. This is the fastes way to break the fever. I can normally get his fever to start to come down by the time the tylenol kicks in. I hope this helps!

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Always talk to your doctor if you are concerned, if you callt hey will give you advice over the phone! As a med student and mother of 2 I completely disagree with the first poster who said not to give meds and that even a 105 degree fever and seizures were nothing to worry about....if 103 the baby needs to be seen right away. Yes it could just be avirus that will go away in a couple of days but at high temps brain damage and dehydration are a big risk for young ones. High fevers are nothing to mess with so always take the her temp to know exactly what it is. At this age you can also give motrin which does work quick and last longer.

Hope she gets better!

1 mom found this helpful

Just for the sake of it, undressing is to an extent ok, but do be careful that your child is dressed comfortably. A chill can send a fever skyrocketing dangerously (so if you're tempted to try a cold bath or something - don't) Lukewarm baths can help to bring down a dangerous fever by absorbing some of the heat from the body, and cool compresses (again not cold) on forehead, wrists, and/or back of neck can help as well. Change as needed. My sister was in children's hospital with a child who's parents tried to "bring down a fever" using cold, which skyrocketed the fever dangerously, sent him into seizures, and the kid last we knew was a vegetable for life. SO - I do advise letting a fever run it's course as much as possible... (Our bodies are meant to keep us well, and medications have so many side effects and dangers that we often come to understand too late.)...HOWEVER, DO monitor the fever closely. A high fever can lead to febrile seizures and be life-threatening. (I'm not trying to scare you or anything, most fevers pass fine and are well below the danger zone - I'm just saying use caution and your own good judgement/gut feeling) If you're afraid it is getting close to the "danger zone", try losing a layer of clothing, grabbing a lighter blanket for your little one, or trying some cool compresses. Of course Tylenol is always available when all else fails, but as others have stated, it often takes around 40 min to work.

depends on what is causing the fever... did the pediatrician tell you to give tylenol? a lot of times tylenol works in 30-45 minutes fyi :)

you know most fevers are there for a reason and unless its extremely high and other methods dont sooth your child it really should be a last resort to give a child a fever reducing medicine. of course each parent has there own technique so please dont think I am TELLING you what to do :), you can google and perhaps ask your doc!

sorry your baby is sick

here I googled this to help explain :)
We are constantly bombarded with pharmaceutical ads for OTC fever and pain relievers. The result: Our culture has developed a fear of fever, when in reality fever can be our ally. In children, for example, fever's destruction of bacteria is an important way to build up young immune systems.

Just what is a fever and what does it do? Fever is an elevation in body temperature in response to infection or other illness. When an infection or illness is detected, a part of the brain called the hypothalamus triggers the body to mount a fever to ward off invaders. This mobilizes white blood cells to surround and engulf bacteria, viruses and other Toxins. Essentially, your body burns up the invaders, explains Dr. Kruzel. In most adults, a fever does its optimal work at 102 degrees, and then breaks.


Whatever other steps you take to intervene with a fever, don't forget this age-old one - drink plenty of fluids. Don't allow yourself to become dehydrated, cautions Dr. Kruzel. To replace fluids lost through Sweating, keep water, juice, seltzer, tea and soup close at hand. It can also be very refreshing to suck on popsicles. (To keep the sugar content under control, I make my family popsicles using diluted fruit juice.)


Another oldie but goodie - get plenty of rest. Left to its own resources, this would be the body's natural response to fever, notes Dr. Kruzel. It's called "adaptive withdrawal," and children and animals still respond this way. When they develop a fever, they naturally grow more subdued. Most adults respond instead by fighting a fever, says Dr. Kruzel. They take a Tylenol and tough it out, insisting on going to work and meeting social obligations. .. when listening to their bodies and taking it easy would in reality help them get better faster.

In my experience it took about an hour or so, sometimes they need a repeated dose, or Motrin instead of Tylenol. Each one works differently and brings down different types of fevers. It her fever does not go away or continues to come back, make sure you call your dr. Hope this helps

Every time my son gets a fever my doctor has told me to get him down to his diaper. Give him the Tylenol (takes about 15-20min to kick in) and then get a wet cool wash cloth and wet down his face, neck, and hair. This is the fastes way to break the fever. I can normally get his fever to start to come down by the time the tylenol kicks in. I hope this helps!

Usually within an hour. In the meantime, don't be tempted to give your baby another dose before the next scheduled time.

Undress your baby down to the diaper. I did this with my daughter this past winter. Even before the Tylenol took effect, she was running around as if she was not sick.

Call your doctor's office and ask them about dosage amounts for all the fever reducers available (I did this a lot too since my baby was so sick so often).

Good luck.

Hi T.S. with my boys tylenol didn't work, only motrin did. If you are not having any success with the tylenol, I suggest trying the motrin. L. S.

It will take at least 30 min, sometimes longer. If the fever is high or she is uncomfortable, a bath (it doesn't have to be cold) has always worked for us almost immediately.

God's blessings to you.

Personally, I've found that ibuprofen (Motrin) works better than Tylenol. That being said, it should start to kick in around 30 minutes. Also try a lukewarm bath. It feels good and can help bring it down. Good luck!

I agree its not necessary to bring down a mild fever. And all those meds have an effect on the stomach whether they make you feel bad or not. Just need to watch closely if you choose to hold off. I used behavior as my indicator for 101˚ or less. Very lethargic and/or very unhappy was my cue to medicate. I noticed early on that the unexplained fever often preceded a new milestone. I really think the fever is there for a reason sometimes, and we may not be helping to try to control it. Be sure your thermometer is accurate. We brought my son in to the ER because his 1st fever registered 105˚! Turned out we got readings about 2˚ higher than it should have. The ER was aggressive about lowering it even at 103˚ with dual dosing (alternate ibuprofen/acetometaphin) It took 4 hours and they said if it hadn't come down soon, they were ready to put him through a spinal tap to test for menengitis! I'd never have allowed it actually. Hope your baby feels better!

there is a great section on fevers in the book by Dr. Robert Mendelssohn, "How to raise a healthy child in spite of your doctor" and the main point is that most fevers do not need to be medicated, and should not be medicated. "Fevers that you should be concerned about should stem from an obvious cause." Such as poisoning, exposure to toxic substances and heat stroke. "Most fevers are caused by viral and bacterial infections that the body's own defense machanisms will overcome without medical help." "They can generate fevers that range all the way up to 105 degrees, but even at that level they are not a legitimate cause for alarm. The only potential risk is dehydration . . . " Rehydration is important, and he says it doesn't matter what type of fluids you give the child, whatever they will take will suffice. Even febrile seizures are not typicaly cause for alarm as there is no evidence that those who do have them (about 4% of children with high fevers) suffer from any serious aftereffects. The seizures have more to do with how rapidly the fever rises than how high it gets.

And the most intriguing piece of information I found in that section is this: "Untreated fevers caused by viral and bacterial infections do not rise inexorably and will not exceed 105 degrees." He explains that reducing the temperature will do nothing to make the child well, and that our bodies have a built-in mechanism, not fully explained, that will prevent an infection-induced temperature from reaching 107 degrees (the danger zone.) He goes on to say that, "Measures to reduce temperature, such as drugs or sponging, are worse than unnecessary; they are actually counterproductive." He goes on to explain the biological process of the immune system, which I will not get into but it is VERY good to know this as a mother. It has given me confidence in my abilities to properly take care of my sick children. I can't recommend this book highly enough, even just for this one section on fevers, but the rest of the book is great, too.

I just wanted to add that giving a fever reducing drug will only reduce the fever by 2 or 3 degrees, it will not necessarily bring it back down to "normal." You will also be interfering with the immune systems process of fighting off the infection by doing this. Do yourself a favor and take a baseline temperature when your child is feeling better so that you have an a point of reference. If baby doesn't appear to be uncomfortable, there is really no point in administering medication.

God bless you and your daughter!

Sometimes Tylenol doesn't take the fever down. When it does it takes approx. 20 minutes. My ped told me if the fever is not down in 20 minutes piggy-back with Ibuprophen (Motrin). they are differnt meds and can be given within a half hour of each other. Of course check with your doc first. I always give my kids Motrin before bedtime (when they have a fever), it works quicker and lasts longer. Then there is a better chance they will get more sleep!

Ibuprofen works faster and lasts longer. I usually dispensed depending on what the fever and aches are for.

IF it goes on for a while, you can piggy-back them.

Give a luke-warm bath, too as this cools the body's core temperature and brings it down. When you are drying her down, try rubbing all of her foot on both sides, this will calm her and help her feel better. (Use some of her lotions or use olive oil... just a smidgen and really focus on the toes.)

Just keep her comfy and the house cool (and a blanket out for her.). Is it from teething?

should within an hour or so, however if its not coming down try a luke warm bath and alt tylenol and motrin, motrin I find works best for fevers, just as with all medication. stick to the specific dosage. and give when necessary

TS ~
You can alternate Tylenol and Motrin - give the Motrin first, then 3 hours later the Tylenol, then 3 hours later the Motrin. Babies get fevers for alot of different reasons, but if it's over 101, it could be an infection, so I would take her to the pediatrician to find out if she needs any antibiotics, cough medicine, or whatever. If it's just a low temp. - like 99 or 100, give lots of fluids, maybe popsicles or Pedialyte, to keep her from becomming dehydrated.
My grandson is sick right now too, so there must be something going around.
Hope she feels better soon!

Tylenol usually takes 30-45 minutes to bring it down. I always use Tylenol for fevers 101-102. If the fever is over 102 I use Motrin. This is what my pediatrician advised me to do. Hope this helps!

Infant motrin works best, you can give her the motrin and follow up with the tylenol half an hour to an hour later, repeat motrin every 6 hours and tylenol every four. A cool wash cloth helps them to feel better for a while. Also try tiny ice chips.
Good luck, hope she feels better.

It actually takes longer for Tylenol than for ibuprofin check with your pediatrician, they may tell you it's ok to alternate the two, every 2(?) hours. I'm not sure if there are any special rules for when alternating is appropriate though, that's why I say to check with your pediatrician first.
Good luck

it may not bring it down to normal, but it will reduce it. i gave my dtr tylenol & motrin for 103 fever and it took it 4 hours to bring it down to 101. a fever isn't a bad thing, just as long as it doesn't get to high. try not to panic. i took shelby's temp and saw it was 103.2 and almost had a stroke, but i took a few deep breathes and stripped her clothes off of her and gave her some meds and sat w/her until it dropped. hope this helps!!!!

How high is the temp? Mild fevers do not necessarily need treatment, unless your little one is in clear discomfort, which is usually why we give tylenol/motrin to begin with. A significant fever should NOT be left alone...typically over 101 in babies. That said, if you gave Tylenol, it could take 30-45 minutes to start to work...but you can't give more until after the next dose is due by the clock, so if you notice a persistent fever, call the doc!


wow 18 months and FIRST fever? you're so lucky!
my pediatrician said you can alternate tylenol and motrin (with motrin give with a snack or milk as no not upset the stomach) every 4 hours. if you are not alternating the meds, then give tylenol every 6 (or 4 -check the label)hours or motrin every 6 hours. i personally have found motrin to work the fastest of the 2, but tylenol works best when they are not eating, just have to be a little more patient. i think motrin starts working with like 20 minutes, and tylenol about twice that. i have 2 kids that have had multiple fevers. in fact, my youngest had one this morning and i have him a dose of tylenol and he's fine now. of course, sometimes kids get fevers for no reason, and you just have to kind of wait it out. the meds might lower it, but not get rid of it. of course, if it's real high for a period of time, it's time to call the doc!!!
good luck & relax!

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