"Give me a fever, and I can cure any illness" -- Hippocrates

fever

I have provided you with information to know how to handle your child's fever safely, effectively, and as naturally as possible. To do this you will need to to recognize warning signs and when to seek proper medical attention.

For more details see printable handout.

fever from a naturopathic perspective

Fever is not a disease itself
Fever is only a symptom of an illness
Naturopathic treatment is to support a fever unless it rises too high or too quickly
A fever of 39°C to 39.4°C is considered the optimal defense against microbes

Think of fever like a warning system just like the warning system of your car's engine light. To suppress a fever is like asking your mechanic to disconnect the engine light, rather than asking him or her to identify and fix the problem that caused the light to come on in the first place.

Parents should ask themselves how they can approach their children's symptoms as logically as they approach their cars: do we really want to suppress our warning signals? In the case of fever, the warning signal is much more of an aid to conquering illness, rather than as a source of damage in itself.

how to safely handle a fever

1) Prevent dehydration - encourage feverish child to drink plenty of fluids.
2) Medicines - take only medicines that enhance fevers and sweating. Teas such as yarrow, chamomile or catnip enhance this mechanism and also help to calm the person.
3) Monitor the temperature frequently - especially in a child. Rectal temperatures run 0.25°C above oral temperatures and those taken under the arm will be 0.25-0.5°C below the oral value.
4) Rest - if your child is running a low temperature (up to 39°C, encourage child to rest in cool pajamas under a light sheet. Keep a watchful eye on him, and do not let child to become chilled. A chill brings on shivering, which can increase the metabolic rate and cause the fever to escalate.
5) Promote perspiration and bring down a moderate to high temperature, give your child fever-reducing herbal tea (peppermint, chamomile).
6) Sponging your child with warm water or having child soak in a tepid bath can help reduce a fever. Give your child a soothing herbal bath. (Do not sponge your child with cold water or rubbing alcohol or give a cold bath).
7) Warming sock treatment - takes time to get used to, but it's an effective way to reduce fever.
8) Observe - for changes in behavior, levels of consciousness or onset of convulsions and dehydration. Most parents have little problem with this as "parental intuition" plays a role. Your "feeling" should be listened to as it may prevent a fever or illness from getting out of hand.
9) Restrict iron supplements – infective organisms thrive on iron. As well, do not give child meat while ill.
10) Remain calm – let your child know that you are there for them and that you care. Often times this is all it takes to quell fears and anxiety, which will aid in the healing process. Fear and anxiety have been shown in studies to depress the immune system.

when to seek medical attention

1) Infants less than 1 month, with a temperature more than 38°C. Seek care right away for fever in this age group. While waiting for care, breastfeed as often as baby desires. Breast milk contains antibodies made immediately as it encounters pathogens in the baby's mouth.
2) Infants from 1-3 months, with a temperature greater than 38°C, if they appear ill. Breastfeed on demand while waiting for care.
3) Children from 3-36 months, with a temperature above 39°C, if they appear ill.
4) Anyone with a temperature over 41°C.
5) For children not in the above three categories, read above how to safely handle a fever.

febrile seizure - emergency

Occasionally, a child with a fever will have a seizure called a febrile seizure. Seek immediate help.
If your child has a febrile seizure, seek a doctor immediately, not tomorrow morning. Call for emergency help.
While waiting for emergency help, keep your child upright and make sure breathing is alright. Stay with child and speak reassuringly.
Watch for changes in your child's breathing and/or color. Be sure airway stays open.
Clear the area around your child to prevent injury. Do not try to hold child down. Restraining a thrashing child can cause additional injury. Try placing a soft pillow or blanket under your child's head. Loosen clothing to prevent injury and ease discomfort.
Do not try to force anything into your child's mouth. You might cause choking, or suffer a bite yourself.
If vomiting occurs, turn your child's head to the side so that there is no risk of child choking on inhaled vomit. If possible, keep child's whole body turned on the side as well.
 
PRINT HANDOUT  

Facts about fever

normal temperature
= 35.7°C - 37.2°C
kids usually have higher fevers than adults
fevers peak in late afternoon
fever medications may mask symptoms
fever medications can prolong illness
many kids fever medications contain harmful food additives

Functions of fever

to stimulate immune system
to create inhospitable environment for invading organisms: heat=death

Benefits of fever

increased antibodies
more white blood cells
increased interferon
walling off of iron
increased temperature
It’s not your kids begging for fever-reducing medicines;
it's the germs.

Preventing fever

wash hands regularly
encourage rest periods for children if overheated
dress appropriate for climate - wear layers to prevent overheating
keep child away from sick playmates
teach children proper hygiene

°C - °F conversion

37.0°C98.6°F
37.5°C99.5°F
38.0°C100.4°F
38.5°C101.3°F
39.0°C102.2°F
39.5°C103.1°F
40.0°C104.0°F
40.5°C104.9°F
41.0°C105.8°F
41.5°C106.7°F
42.0°C107.6°F
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