Amy walks in with a desperate look on her face and asks, “It is day 3 and little Jonny still has a high fever, should I take him in to get antibiotics?”
As a chiropractor in Palm Harbor, my first question is always the same, “have you been giving him fever reducers?” The next thing that happens is I get the “I am an alien” look. The look that says why would you even ask me that, of course I gave him fever reducers he had a fever and I wouldn’t want to hurt/damage my child.
Many of us have been sold the lie that fevers are bad. We think fevers will hurt our kids. We worry and get anxious, and this occurs because of all the myths which have been propagated by our healthcare system. The facts are clear, and to help reduce the fear I have compiled a list of my top 9 facts about fevers. These facts come from various pediatric journals and research hospitals.
(It’s kind of crazy because with all the fever phobia I can’t find one published article which talks about fevers damaging our children…but don’t take my word for it do your own research.)
Myths of Fevers Explained by Palm Harbor Chiropractor
1. MYTH - My child feels warm, so they must have a fever.
FACT - Children can feel warm for many reasons. Examples are playing hard, crying, sleeping (during sleep our temperature tends to rise as we experience different parts of the sleep cycle). The skin temperature should return to normal in about 20-30 minutes in any of the above situations. Now if they truly have a fever read the next facts.
2. MYTH - Fevers are bad.
FACT - Fevers turn on the body's immune system. They help the body fight infection. Normal fevers between 100° and 104° F are good for children. They actually stimulate the immune system to kick into high gear.
3. MYTH. If you can't "break the fever", the cause is serious.
FACT. Fevers that don't come down to normal are typically caused by viruses or bacteria. The response to fever medicines tells us nothing about the cause of the infection. The truth is that fevers help weaken virus and bacteria to allow your immune system to do its job in fighting the invaders.
4. MYTH - Once the fever comes down with medicines, it should stay down.
FACT - It's normal for fevers with most viral infections to last for 2 or 3 days. When the fever medicine wears off, the fever will come back. The fever will go away and not return once the body overpowers the virus. Most often, this is day 3 or 4. This is also why I recommend NOT to reduce the fever and to allow the body the best chance to more effectively fight the invading germs. (See my list of signs at the end of the article on when you should reduce a fever at all cost
5. MYTH - Fevers above 104° F are dangerous and can cause brain damage.
FACT - Fevers with infections don't cause brain damage. Only temperatures above 108° F can cause brain damage. It's very rare for the body temperature to climb this high. It only happens if the air temperature is very high. An example is a child left in a closed car during hot weather.
6. MYTH - Anyone can have a seizure triggered by fever.
FACT - Only 4% of children can have a seizure with fever.
7. MYTH - Seizures with fever are harmful.
FACT - These seizures are scary to watch, but they stop within 5 minutes. They don't cause any permanent harm. They don't increase the risk for speech delays or learning problems. It is believed to be a mechanism the body uses to shut down a fever that is getting to high. Once again, scary but not harmful and if you follow the proper protocols (see below) you can minimize the risk of these.
8. MYTH. Without treatment, fevers will keep going higher.
FACT - Wrong, the brain knows when the body is too hot. Most fevers from infection don't go above 103° or 104° F. They rarely go to 105° or 106° F. While these are "high" fevers, they also are harmless ones.
9. MYTH - If the fever is high, the cause is serious.
FACT - How your child looks, and acts is what's important. The exact temperature is not. The temperature gives you no indication to the severity of the underlying infection.
With these 9 myths debunked I hope your worry and anxiety of fever phobia is eased. Keep in mind that a fever is your child’s helper in fighting off any invaders. Allowing your child to fight off germs naturally can strengthen their immune system for the future (how great is that).
Before I end, I want to give you a few signs for when it would be critical to intervene.
*General guidelines on when to immediately get checked by your doctor:
- If you are dealing with new born babies. Early on the immune system is not completely developed and may be unable to manage invaders. This is typically a non-issue with breast fed babies since the mother is supplying the new born with immune cells through the breast milk. But anytime you deal with a new born you want to get them checked immediately.
- If a child becomes dehydrated. This is a critical time to decrease the fever and do anything possible to hydrate. If necessary, take them in to get an IV. If they child is drinking fluids and peeing, you are typically in good shape.
- If the child is lethargic. Lethargic is a medical term that is loosely used. Lethargy does not mean tired or sleeping a lot. It is when the child is confused, unresponsive, and will not wake up. These are times you should seek medical attention.
One last thought, as a parent I get the fear, anxiety, and stress that comes with fevers and other symptoms. Even after seeing hundreds of kids and having four of my own, I still hear that little voice of doubt in my head that our FEVER PHOBIA health care system drove into me early on. But now instead of given into the fear I look at the facts and trust in the amazing way the body was designed to heal. Remember “God needs no help to heal, He just needs no interference.”
In my upcoming article I will discuss what is the course of action in our home to remove any interference and allow for maximum healing…hint it includes lots of rest, fluids, specific supplementation and removing any nervous system interference through the Chiropractic adjustments.
Call Ignite Chiropractic & Wellness in Palm Harbor today to schedule an appointment.
*This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice contact your doctor for any advice or concerns.
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