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Eliminate the Fear not the Fever

by | BABIES & CHILDREN

Eliminate the fear not the fever

As loving and caring parents, we naturally want to help our children feel better when the inevitable fevers, colds, and illnesses arise.
Many of us will reach for popular over-the-counter remedies to suppress fever and alleviate symptoms, in the belief that these products are reliable. Yet, it is important to recognise that by suppressing fever, we are suppressing a critical immune response—one that has a necessary function in fighting illness.
I know from experience, the enormous fear that fever provokes in parents. But as long as we continue to believe that nature made a mistake in causing a fever during illness, our children will be put at risk.

Yes, fever can be uncomfortable. A child with a high fever will often seem irritable, lethargic, glassy eyed, and listless. This alerts you that the body is mobilising defences against disease and you, in turn, must care for your child in the most appropriate way: encouraging rest and fluids. On the other hand, there may be no reason to treat even a high fever if your child seems happy, active and alert.
The belief that fever is dangerous and must be suppressed disregards the scientific evidence demonstrating its beneficial role in inflammatory diseases. The immune system depends on the fever to accomplish myriad tasks when gearing up to fight infections.
Parents are left to fear that their child’s temperature will keep rising unless measures are taken to control it. Yet, reducing the child’s temperature will do nothing to make the child well, and our bodies have a built-in mechanism that will prevent an infection-induced temperature from reaching dangerous levels.

 Febrile Convulsion

Many parents are fearful of fevers because they have seen a convulsive seizure and believe their child may experience one if the body temperature is allowed to rise too high. High fevers do not cause convulsions. They result when the temperature rises at an extremely rapid rate and are relatively uncommon. Only a small percentage of children with high fever experience convulsions, and those who do suffer them do not have any aftereffects. Simple febrile seizures are self-limited and harmless, although they are one of the most frightening things that a parent can witness.The height of fever is not a measure of the severity of the illness. A child who appears very ill with a fever of 38°C would be much more of a concern to me than a child who feels fine, is drinking and playing, but has a fever of 40°C.Numerous studies have shown that fever enhances the immune response by disabling bacteria and viruses. Also, with a rise in temperature, iron is removed from the blood and stored in the liver, further disabling the rate at which bacteria can multiply.
As a note of caution, when a fever arises in a newborn in the first few weeks after birth, there is a heightened level of concern. Parents are advised to seek help if a baby runs a fever in the first two months after birth. As breastfeeding plays a critical role in preventing infections in infants, breastfed babies are superbly protected against a vast range of pathogens and have a lesser risk of developing fevers in the newborn phase.

How to help your child get through a fever

Mistrust of natural processes and reliance on medications has obscured parents’ understanding of the importance of childhood illnesses and the necessity of fever as a vital aspect of the immune system. When a child has a fever, it is not necessary to artificially lower the temperature. It is, however, important for the child to take in plenty of fluids, because in this time of elevated body temperature, it is easy to become dehydrated. Broth, liquid electrolytes, and fruit juices are great choices because they replace electrolytes that are used up in the fever process. Rest during times of fever will allow the body to use its energy to fight off infection.
Make a commitment to spend time with your sick child at home and monitor them.  Any time that you feel concerned about the way your child is acting, or if your instinct is that something is wrong, do not hesitate to call your chiropractor.

About the author
Hi! I’m Gabby. I’m a chiropractor and I’m on a mission to teach others how to look after their bodies in meaningful ways by making small lifestyle changes that will have a big impact over time. I help people to create peace in their own body. Find me on Facebook and in my practice ‘Buderim Chiropractic’.

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