How to respond to your child’s fever

I just ran across a very helpful article about Johnson & Johnson’s children medicine recalls on Dr. Mercola’s site.  In it, he quotes excerpts from “Kids, Herbs, and Health: A Parent’ Guide to Natural Remedies” by Linda B. White, MD and Sunny Mavor.

Here is an excerpt from Mercola’s article:

There is a common perception that if you’re coughing, sneezing or have a low-grade fever, you must take a medication to get rid of it. In reality, coughing and sneezing are tools your body uses to get rid of viruses and irritants, and fever also helps to kill bacteria and viruses. So by taking a drug to stop these natural protections, you are actually impairing your body’s ability to fight the infection, which will result in significantly delaying the healing process.

Many of the products that were recalled are used to treat a child’s fever. But what many parents don’t realize is that a fever is actually a good thing.

Childhood fevers are in fact better than any vaccination at triggering an authentic, life-long immune response in your child’s body.

A basic fever, one due to minor bacterial or viral illness, can be an expression of the immune system working at its best. It increases both the amount of interferon(a natural antiviral and anticancer substance) in your blood, and the amount of white blood cells, which kill infected cells. Fever also impairs the replication of many bacteria and viruses.

Therefore, when you suppress your child’s fever with Tylenol or other medications, you can cause far more harm than good. In fact, animal studies have shown that when fever is blocked, survival rates from infection decline.

Home Management of Fevers:

  • Do give your child lots to drink. Fever increases fluid loss, and dehydration can drive up your child’s temperature. Kids with fever often do not feel thirsty, or by the time they do, they’re already dehydrated. So keep offering fluids.
  • Small, frequent sips are often best, especially if the child feels nauseated. If necessary, use a plastic medicine dropper to gently insert water into your child’s mouth.
  • Dress lightly or bundle? The answer depends on your children’s perception of temperature – follow her cues.If your child looks pale, shivers, or complains of feeling chilled (things that tend to happen in the early stages of fever), bundle her in breathable fabrics so that sweat will evaporate, but make sure she can easily remove the layers. If she is comfortable and her fever is low, dress her snuggly and give warm liquids to assist the body’s fever production.If she sweats and complains of heat, dress her lightly and let her throw off the covers. Older kids will take care of these needs themselves.
  • Don’t push food. People with fevers generally don’t have much appetite. Let your child determine when and what she eats. Just bear in mind that consumption of sugary foods could delay the natural immune response.

For more in-depth information about fevers, read Fever in Children – A Blessing in Disguise.

For quick reassurance about your child’s fever being normal and nothing to be worried about, read Fever in Children – 5 Facts You Must Know

For a more mainstream source on fevers, read Fever in babies: 7 things you might not know.

 

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