The first time my daughter became ill and spiked a fever, it was terrifying. As I held her in my arms, I could feel her hot little body against mine and I just knew that she felt miserable. All I wanted to do was make her better and take her fever away!
Since then I have come to realize that this fear that I was feeling was not only normal for a first-time mother, but a common reaction in today’s fever phobic society.
I have since learned a lot about fevers that has given me some peace of mind and helped to calm my nerves. I believe that every mom should be armed with this knowledge so that they don’t have to totally freak, the next time their kid comes down with one.
WHY DO WE GET FEVERS ANYWAY?
Although I never like seeing my little baby feeling miserable, I know that her rise in body temperature is just a sign that her immune system is actually working.
You see, our body has this amazing ability to heal itself.
For instance, when we get a cut, our bodies will begin to heal that cut automatically and immediately without us having to tell it what to do. This is also known as innate intelligence. It’s a beautiful thing.
Our body works in a similar way when it comes to fevers. A fever is the bodies natural response to a foreign invader such as a bacteria or virus. It is a normal and natural healing function of the body.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, here is the big shocker… Fevers are actually a GOOD thing!
Hear me out…
Fevers are a necessary process to rid the body of infection. Think of it like the bodies own kind of “therapy”. They work as a protective mechanism, that our bodies (so amazingly) utilize, and can be a key factor in helping your child recover more quickly.
DO WE ACTUALLY NEED TO TREAT FEVERS?
Current research shows that fever can actually stimulate antibody and white blood cell production (the good guys) and destroy the bacteria or viruses (the bad guys) causing the illness, through heat.
This new research openly calls into question the all-too-popular fever-suppressive drugs that are readily available and given so nonchalantly to our children.
Medications used to reduce fevers, like Tylenol and Motrin, will only mask the symptoms and work against the bodies natural recovery process.
First off, it is a complete myth that breaking the fever will stop the infection. In fact, the cells that are responsible for causing the fever are simultaneously sending messages to the immune system to do its job.
I don’t know about you, but something tells me we shouldn’t be interfering with that process!
This isn’t even mentioning the fact that fever-reducing medications like Tylenol are completely toxic to the liver!
These medications could be problematic for anyone, yet children are even more susceptible to their toxic effects. Their little bodies are smaller, not yet developed, and much more fragile when compared to adults, so they simply cannot handle this foreign substance (even when given in the correct dosage).
If you ask me, it seems a little counterproductive to administer these types of drugs to your, already ill child. Especially when just riding it out can (in most cases) be so much more beneficial to them in the long run.
WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO Then?
As my child’s primary caretaker, it is my responsibility to monitor her symptoms and guide her back to optimal health.
But that is just it, monitor (not medicate).
The key is to be observant of your child. If they are running around, playing, and otherwise their normal selves, then there is no reason to treat them.
In fact, a fever up to three days can be completely normal and actually productive in the face of an infection.
Follow your instincts! If your child looks very ill and he/she is not responding well, not drinking, and/or not peeing, then it may be time for some further intervention. (see Times That May Call for Concern, below)
Here are a few natural remedies to help comfort your child through their fever:
- If you are still breastfeeding your little one, then keep on doing it! As much as they want, whenever they want! Breast milk is basically nature’s antibiotic. It will provide your baby with the exact key nutrients that they need to get well again.
- Create a calm and relaxed environment. As hard is it can be, especially for a first-time mom, it is very important that you maintain a confident and peaceful sense about you, as this will do wonders in helping to improve your child’s condition even faster.
- Go see a chiropractor that is experienced in Pediatric care and get your little one adjusted. Spinal correction will ensure that the body is functioning properly and will likely improve symptoms fairly quick.
- Keep your child as hydrated as you possibly can! This is extremely important because dehydration can lead to further complication. Warmed lemon water, herbal teas, or bone broth are all great options.
- Offer your child some food (just a few bites) but never force them to eat if they don’t want to. Eating will naturally drop a high temperature and give their body the energy they need to fight off the infection.
- Try rubbing crushed garlic on the soles of the feet, wrap with plastic wrap, and cover with socks. Seems strange I know, but it will pull toxins out of the body which may help them fight off the infection quicker.
Times That May Call for Concern
While most fevers play a beneficial role in your child’s health, there are some circumstances where medical attention is definitely warranted.
Please contact your health care provider or take your child to your nearest Emergency Department if you experience any of the following:
- Your child is less than 3 months old and has a fever above 100 degrees
- He/She is unresponsive, limp, and/or eyes look glazed.
- The fever is extremely high, greater than 104 degrees and/or has lasted longer than 3 days.
- Your child is having trouble breathing (seek immediate help)
- You think your child may have ingested poison.
- Your motherly instinct tells you there is something much worse going on.
The Bottom Line
You don’t need to be afraid of fevers!
Fevers within themselves are not bad or scary! They represent a completely normal and healthy functioning of our immune systems hard at work.
You just need to be vigilant. Watch your child, ensure that they are getting over their illness, as you would expect them to. Keep a close eye on them and take measures to make them as comfortable as you can.
Don’t forget to give them lots and lots of cuddles and they should be back to health in no time!
What do you do when your child has a fever? Let me know in the comments below.