We have all been there as parents. Our precious, little daughter or son has a fever and we hate to see them suffer. Fever is one of the main reasons that parents call their pediatrician. We want our child to get out of that suffering state as quickly as possible so we take them to the doctor or give them something to the lower the fever. In this article we will address how a fever is actually good and when a fever requires medical attention.
Why would you boil unfiltered water?
The best analogy to compare a fever to is boiling water. If you went camping out in the middle of nowhere and didn’t bring any bottled water or a filter for your water, what would you have to do to the water that you got out of the stream? That’s right, you would have to boil it. Why would you have to boil it? To get rid of all of the bacteria that could be contaminating or living in the water.
Wouldn’t it be cool if our bodies did the same thing? Oh wait, our bodies can. A fever raises our body temperature to make the environment unsuitable for foreign invaders (virus and bacteria). Our bodies are so intelligent that we have a built in mechanism to try to fight off these foreign invaders. So despite what you may believe, fevers are very beneficial.
Benefits of a fever
- Increase antibodies- cells trained to specifically attack the foreign invade
- Increase in interferon-antiviral and anticancer substance that helps block spread of virus
- Walls of iron- bacteria feed on iron
- Increased temperature- viruses and bacteria grow at temperature lower than the human body
- Impairs replication of many bacteria and viruses
Why shouldn’t you lower the fever with medication?
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “a fever is not an illness, rather, it is a symptom of sickness and is usually a positive sign that the body is fighting infection.” They do not recommend treating your child with fever reducing drugs, even with higher temperatures.
Taking medications to lower a fever are actually suppressing the immune system of the child and also have nasty side effects. Lowering the fever prevents the body from being able to do its job. Medications can mask your symptoms, which can lead to resume normal activities before your body is ready. These medications have some serious side effects that include: liver damage, stomach distress, and Reye’s syndrome. NEVER give your child aspirin due to its link to Reye’s syndrome.
When does a fever get dangerous?
While it is very uncommon that medical intervention is needed, there are rare times when a fever does get dangerous. Here are circumstances when you should seek immediate medical attention:
Fever in an infant younger than 3 months
- Fever above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit in children 3 months to 36 months
- Anytime fever reaches 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit or above
- Some children get febrile seizures. The fever triggers a seizure in a small percentage of young children. These seizures often frighten parents, but most are benign or non-life threatening
It is always best to let your child’s fever just run its course. This allows the body to do its job and fight off the infection as quickly as possible. We know it is very difficult to see our child suffer, but lowering the fever could have a detrimental impact on our child’s health. Remember to seek medical attention when the above warning signs are present. Otherwise, just comfort your child and help them feel as comfortable as possible. Also, structural chiropractic care helps boost your child’s immune system so a quick trip to the chiropractor could help your child kick the infection must fast.