When I think of a fever, a picture of Ferris Bueller holding his thermometer next to his bedside light comes into my head. How many of you did that as a kid knowing that a fever meant a day of no school?! Most of us are taught at an early age that a fever is a bad thing. We need to "break" the fever with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. We have become fever phobic as a society. What if I told you that a fever is a good thing. Gasp! Yep, you read that right.
A fever is part of your body's natural defense system. It shows that your immune system is working properly and especially in children it helps to strengthen the immune system. A fever helps to fight off and kill bacteria and viruses. When you suppress the fever, you are suppressing your body's defense and leaving it more susceptible to the intruders.
Instead of trying to "break" the fever, help to make your child as comfortable as possible while allowing the fever to do it's job. Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Stay with your child for support
- Lots of rest and clear fluids
- Less eating and activities
- A warm bath
- Chamomile in the bath or as a tea is very soothing
However, there are some times when you should seek medical care:
- Any fever in an infant under 3 months of age
- A fever over 106 degrees
- A fever that remains elevated for more than 48 hours
- If your child seems lethargic or has a change in mental state during the fever
- Any signs of difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, stiff neck, dehydration
So next time your child has a warm forehead, no need to run out to your local drugstore. Remember that a fever is the body's friend. Be thankful that the immune system is fighting off the enemy.