Ok, so this is my “fevervention” to all you parents out there. Now what I am about to tell you might be hard to accept… buuuuuutttt, Fevers are a really good thing! Fevers are our friend!!
Some 30 years ago some guy named Barton coined the term “fever phobia” (real creative, I know). It was right after fever reducing medicines were on the rise, and parents began treating simple fevers with meds for fear that their child would die or be brain damaged because of it. Here’s the thing: A fever cannot cause brain damage unless it reaches 107.6 and stays there for an extended period of time.
Why are fevers a good thing?
Fevers heat things up. They basically create a shitty living situation for the nasty bugs that want to hang out. Once you lower the temp inside, you are making things nice and cozy for these bugs to stay. Studies have even found that aspirin and other fever reducing meds actually suppress the production of antibodies, thus resulting in the infection lasting for up to 50% LONGER than it should. Annnnnnd, research also shows that letting a fever run its course may REDUCE THE LENGTH (Yay!!) and the severity of the illness, such as colds and flu. You want to know who wants you to give the fever reducing meds?? Those nasty bugs!!! Bug: “Yea, that’s right bring down that temp a few degrees and I’ll grab a magazine and hang out for awhile.”
I have said it once and I will say it again, I am not a doctor, but I found these things to be pretty interesting:
**The Ancient Greeks actually treated people with “fever therapy” to aide their recovery from things like tuberculosis and syphilis.
** When cold blooded animals, like lizards, feel sick, they seek out a warmer spots to lie on and get rest, so they can give themselves a fever when the are sick. All living creatures in the animal kingdom use fevers to strengthen their immune systems.
**They even infected some animals to see what would happen to those that were allowed to raise their body temps. Those animals that were allowed to raise their temps, fared better and were more likely to survive.
** A fever of 102 or 103 is optimal defense against those bugs. Temps like these HEAL the body most effectively.
**Fevers tend to go up in the afternoon or evening.
**Fever reducing meds only drop the temp by 1-2 degrees. Example: Your kiddo has 102 fever, and you give meds, at best, the fever may go down to 100. Your babe still has a fever, but you just made the environment cooler, giving the bugs a better chance to survive.
What can I do for my poor baby when they have a fever?
Back off of the drugs!! This is my advice to you. I would ONLY turn to drugs if your tiny human is really struggling to sleep or the fever really seems to be making them super uncomfortable. Look, I know it’s scary. I have been there many times, but knowing the facts about how positive fevers can be and how they are a good thing for our babes should tell you not to lower that fever.
Watch your kiddo, cuddle your kiddo, keep them hydrated, and let that fabulous fever ride! You know your kid, if they seem “off”, then follow your gut. We have all had a fever and they suck! Clearly, your kiddo is not going to feel great, but know that it wont last forever, and it’s actually helping your little one’s body FIGHT!
Here are some things to watch out for:
*Behavior that is out of character
*Unable to make eye contact
*Unable to get healing sleep
*If your baby is 0-3 months old then a fever of 100.4 or more warrants a call to the doc
*If your babe is between 3-36 months old then a fever of 102.2 and SEEMS ILL warrants a call to your doc (My little gal just got pretty darn close to 102, but she still wanted to play with her little people. I was watching HER, NOT the fever)
*Anyone with a fever of 104.5
*High fever that has lasted more than 3 days
DON’T FOCUS TOO MUCH ON THE NUMBER, BUT INSTEAD ON YOUR CHILD
If you see these things happening, then listen to your gut and call your doc. If you haven’t had the pure joy (sarcasm button) of dealing with a fever then I can promise you that your kiddo might have the chills, sweat, seem lethargic, not feel super energetic, be cranky, and be just plain “off”. Most of these are normal reactions to a fever.
Alright, so I am going to tell you about febrile seizures NOT to scare the shit out of you, but to inform you! Knowledge is power (yeawwww!) Kids can have seizures when they get a fever. Yep, and guess what? Its pretty common from age 6 months to 5 years old. Annnnd, if they have had one, there is a good chance they will have another. Most times febrile seizures are not dangerous! They can last a few minutes (oh, let me grab a cup of coffee while my kid seizes in the corner… Really?!) and your kiddo will shake and maybe lose consciousness. If it happens you will do your best to move them away from anything that they could bump into or hurt themselves with. It’s usually best to lay them on their side or tummy to prevent choking.
So there it is! That’s my “fevervention” for ya! I really hope the next time babe spikes up into the triple digits you will stop, breathe, and read this. Say it with me folks: FEVERS ARE OUR FRIENDS.