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You awaken in the middle of the night only to find out that your child has a fever. What do you do?
If you had asked me just 3 years ago, I would have told you to get some fever-reducing medicine into your child and call it good, maybe even call the doctor. Ask me now, however and I tell a different tale.
As parents, we are often led to believe that fevers are this thing of doom and gloom. We are told that a fever is so horrible that we must treat it with medicine the second our child is no longer 98.6 degrees.
However, that just isn’t true. Fevers are not bad. Not bad at all actually, fevers actually help your body heal!
Did you know that when you give medication for a fever you could reduce the production of antibodies by 50%! Think of that as basically delaying your recovery time by half! That right there should show you that fevers should be allowed to run their course unhampered.
Fevers: Friend or Foe
In order to be classified as a fever the temperature needs to be above 100 degrees. (Note this varies depending on which way you take the temperature but generally 100 degrees is a safe bet)
An untreated natural fever (as in caused by infection, not heat or poisoning) rarely ever goes over 105 degrees unless the patient is over dressed or in a location that is too hot.
Brain damage does not occur unless the fever is over 107.6. This is important to remember as many of us have been led to believe that anything over 104 is practically life or death.
Some children do experience febrile seizures. It is important to remember that while they can be scary, they are not harmful. They are basically the body’s way of keeping the fever in check.
Now that we’ve got some of the basics covered, let’s talk about what we should do when our child gets a fever.
When to seek medical help
- If your baby is under 3 months and has a fever. (100 degrees)
- Fever has lasted more then 3 days.
- Persistent fever over 105 degrees.
- Fever has been caused by a non-natural source such as drugs, poison, toxins, extreme heat, etc.
- Child is repeatedly vomiting, has a severe headache, stiff neck, extreme lethargy, or unresponsiveness.
What to Do During a Fever
If your child is otherwise acting normal and the fever is under 104 then generally you do not need to do anything. Let them do what their body tells them to do: eat, drink, sleep.
Do make sure to give them plenty of liquids, as dehydration will only raise a fever and making things worse.
If your child is still nursing, then nurse frequently as not only will your child need the liquid but breast milk creates antibodies for your child to help fight infection.
Avoid foods and drinks that are full of sugar. Sugar is not good for anyone but during illness it is only going to prolong the issue. Sugar reduces immunity and thus increases the illness’ duration.
If fever is over 104 then make sure your child is getting lots of fluids. Give you child a tepid bath to help lower the fever. Note: you do not want a bath that is too warm but you also do not want a cold bath either.
Give your child all the normal illness fighting remedies that you normally would; garlic, coconut oil, elderberry syrup, etc.
What Not to Do During a Fever
Bundle up your child. Over dressing a person with a fever may led to a very high temperature and that is not something you want.
Use ice baths, ice packs, or rubbing alcohol to lower a temperature. They can actually cause the body to over compensate and raise the temperature.
Give fever-reducing medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. These will only increase the illness’ duration and actual have their own risks.
Now perhaps if your child’s fever is going past 104-105 and you just can’t get it down otherwise, then if you feel comfortable go ahead and give a dose while heading over to the doctor.
Every child will have a fever at some point in their lives. When they do, it is important to remember that the fever isn’t there to cause harm but rather to help your child recover from their illness quicker.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be able to give medical advice. This information is simply to educate, inspire, and motivate you to look into these issues more on your own, or to talk with your own medical practitioner for more information.