What Should I Do About My Child’s Fever?
The winter months are upon us bringing cooler temperatures, reduced time outdoors, and less sunshine…this also means a higher incidence of illness for our family members. One of the most common questions I get from patients is “What should I do about my child’s fever?”
If you want to skip all the reading, you can watch this short video of me answering this question with my 2 year old daughter Andie who was “processing” a fever the day we recorded.
WHAT IS A FEVER?
Fever is an increase in body temperature compared to the average temperture.
This elevation is a natural response and can be commonly caused by exposure to a virus or bacteria and less commonly attributed to heat stroke, poisoning or other factors.
The most important piece of information every parent needs to understand is that FEVER IS A NORMAL RESPONSE.
When the body increases temperature it is a purposeful part of the healing process.
IS FEVER DANGEROUS?
The answer to this question is at the root of why the majority of parents are fearful of their child having a raging fever. There’s no question, if you’ve seen your little one struggling, burning up and crying…it’s a natural instinct to want to help them.
But…by decreasing the body’s response to an impending infection, you’re doing more harm than good. It’s not the fever that is a problem, it’s the underlying problem that is the issue.
To put your mind at ease even The National Institutes of Health states that fever under 107 degrees is unlikely to cause brain damage and febrile seizures although scary do not cause any permanent harm.
That said, there are rare cases where fever is a sign of a more serious problem. Cases such as:
- respiratory distress
- temperatures over 100 in kids under 3 months
- stiff neck or listlessness
- known poisoning
- fever for multiple days
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
For the vast majority of cases, the answer is nothing. At least nothing other than make your child feel comfortable. Artificially attempting to lower the body temperature will inhibit the body’s immune response and alter the natural healing process.
This applies to both anti-fever medication as well as cold compresses and tubs.
The point is…your child’s fever is on purpose and unless it’s a signal something more serious is happening. Getting out of the way is the best approach to ensuring they move along the healing process as fast as possible and end up healthier as a result.
Monitor your child, support their functioning body with water, nutrient dense foods if hungry, rest and give them plenty of attention and love.
This is an important article that can help thousands of parents and grandparents just like you start to understand how to best address a child’s fever intelligently and confidently. Feel free to share it with anyone you think it could benefit.
If you want more of the steps every parent needs to know in order to keep their child healthy, click below to download the FREE resource guide.