We don't treat a fever with any meds and I am looking for other mama's who might do the same. My son has had a fever of about 104 all afternoon and now into his sleeping. He has been quite tired, and in good spirits. Still his usual self (a lot more mellow). At what point should I be concerned? How long for this fever, how high should I let it go, and if any of these changes occur, what should I do? My son is about 2 1/2. We have been using lavender oil on the soles of his feet and giving him as many fluids as he will take.
In The Baby Book, Dr. Sears recommends looking at their behavior instead of just their temperature. Very serious diseases can cause low-grade fevers and minor illnesses can cause high temperatures.
My dd had a fever of 102-104 for three days when she had just turned two. We suspected it was Roseola, but we never saw the rash. We didn't treat the fever and the nurse I called at Kaiser said they don't automatically lower fevers anymore. However... dd developed this raspy sound to her breathing and she was snoring while she slept. This made them ask us to bring her in. The ped. couldn't hear well in her lungs because they were constricted. They gave her albuterol and then could hear that there was nothing in her lungs. She hated the treatment, but felt so much better afterwards. Her fever broke soon after and that was the end of her illness. So, that's our story. All that is to say that if it's just a fever with no other strange symptoms, I wouldn't lower it, but I'd keep a close eye on how my child was doing. (Which it seems like you're doing.) If there's something else going on, I'd call his doctor. It can't hurt to call the doctor now if you just want to hear what they have to say also.
I hope he feels better soon.
I don't treat fevers, and I always have to reassure my husband a thousand times, even though both kids have always come through fevers with no problem!
You asked how long you should not be concerned - I think it's 3 days for a lasting high fever, and more than a week with a low-grade fever, then you should go to the doctor to get it checked.
As for how high, I would also treat the behaviour, I think every one's threshold is different. If your child is not too uncomfortable, responding normally, able to drink, and able to sleep, that is their best medicine! I used to worry about if the fever would get to 105...but they never went over 104.1, and I don't bother to take their temperature now...I would if they had a change in behaviour....the information it gives is fairly 'useless'.
Hope your ds feels better fast!
He doesn't seem to have any other symptoms, and we will watch him as you have said.
And I would treat any accompanying pain - but never with Tylenol.
Ibuprofen - acetaminophen just has never worked for any of us, and it's just too easy to OD a kid on the stuff.
We don't do a lot of meds and like to let a fever do its job but a fever of over 102-103 that lasts all day would have me concerned. Tylenol can help lower the fever and alleviate any pain but what is the cause? That would be my major concern? What caused it and how to treat that. In a 2.5 year old, I would think an ear infection. They can often manifest themselves this way, with fever alone and no other outward symptoms. If still feverish tomorrow, I would see a doc. If ear infection is diagnosed, you don't necessarily need meds right away. You can try to treat with herbal ear oil, which can be found at any health food store.
When my son's fever spiked up that high an infection (ears, sinus can do it too) had spread to other structures in his head.
Hopefully the eye pain is related to the fever or vitamin A.
I just thought I'd mention to watch as spreading stuff gets serious fast and he was complaining of eye pain.
Hope he is better tomorrow.
Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys!
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THE IMPORTANCE OF FEVER
Fever in a child is a frightening symptom to the mother. Just what is the function of fever? Is it a harmful process, something to suppress and worry about? Or is it the body’s attempt to burn up a poison, thereby helping to dispose of it more quickly?
In the diseases of childhood, fever begins in the liver. In a very strong, robust child, with properly functioning endocrine glands, the toxin is often completely consumed in the liver. The child does not feel sick or have pain; he just has a fever and if the liver area is carefully palpated, it can be noted that there is an elevation of temperature over that organ. In fact, if the temperature under the tongue is 105 degrees, the internal temperature of the liver may be as high as 110 degrees. But if the liver is unable to oxidize completely the poisons of disease so that some leak through into the blood stream, then, under the action of the endocrine glands, the poisons seek vicarious outlets via the mucous membranes. This may be through the upper respiratory tract, diagnosed by doctors as flu, sinusitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis and possibly even pneumonia, which is a complicated kind of bronchitis. All through this process, the whole power of the liver is diverted into neutralizing the toxic wastes of disease, as evidenced by the fever.
The liver is much too busy to be bothered with the task of the digestion of food. Great strain can be taken off that organ if no food is given. Not only does fasting lower the temperature, relieve the distress and facilitate elimination, but it also lessens the strain on the liver and prevents serious complications, such as middle-ear disease, mastoiditis and meningitis. Left alone, a fever will not exceed 106 degrees. And only about 4 percent of children experience fever-related convulsions, with no serious aftereffects.
A fast (on distilled water, or at least diluted fruit or vegetable juices) should be continued for twenty-four hours after the temperature has returned to normal. A good rule to remember is that the bowel can be cleared of toxins (by physic or enemas) in twenty-four hours; the blood in three days; the liver in five days, providing no food is eaten. Shingles (“adult chicken pox”), an eliminative crisis through the mucous membranes that occurs in adults, may require about a week-long fast to completely clear up.
It appears then, that fever, dreaded because misunderstood, is really nature’s attempt to help. It is discomforting, but never does harm; never is attended with serious aftereffects and never should be suppressed with anti-inflammatory drugs or fed with food. I have seen many a case of flu pushed into a pneumonia because some anxious grandmother insisted upon something “to give the child strength”, such as chicken broth or a thin starchy gruel, both liquids, of course, but protein and starch—just what the liver cannot handle at this point
Copyright 1999 by Gary Krasner
I hope your ds feels better soon. And take care of yourself too.
You don't say how you got the measurement, but esp. if that's anal temp, it's just what happens when they get sick. Maybe he hasn't had roseola yet? If I had a high fever go on for longer than about 2.5 days or was accompanied by something other than "regular sick" in a kid I would call the doctor but I would not reduce the fever. I provide fever comfort by holding, allowing TV, baths, catering to the child, making sure she is not chilled.
Angela- I tried warm baths, but I find that they work for a very short period of time and his fever creeps back up. Not a problem if he is sleeping and not in discomfort but again, I don't know what to do to help him sleep...
Thank you everyone for your useful information... I just gave my ds one dose of meds and it allowed him to sleep for most of the night. His fever is back but I think it is only in the 103s. He was up and ready to go nice and early this morning. We'll see how the day goes...
Thank you very much motherwren for that great post! It makes total sense, and is basically what my doc tries to tell me (holistic). He just never explained it as well as you. I ususally allow my ds to get on as usual with a high fever (as long as his behaviour doesn't change) but the thing that was worrying me was his discomfort and inability to sleep. What do you think your uncle would suggest in this case? I also like the idea of not eating- again, what if your dc wants to eat and asks for something? Do you think that means his system is ready to accept food? I am so not a worrier and i get my queues from my ds, but I crumble when I see him hurting.
So you have a holistic doc? If he mentioned the facts in that article, then it seems likely that he is coming from a TCM perspective and should be able to answer your questions. I am sorry that I can't answer better. I'd say that I'd ask my uncle but he's on the other side of the country and I couldn't give you any time table for a response. He would probably just tell me that your ds needs to be seen anyway. A TCM doc would read his pulse, look at his tongue etc...things that can only be done in person. They may recognize something underlying with him that western medicine wouldn't...and maybe there would be a remedy or treatment of some kind (herbal, acupressure etc). Again I don't know what type of medicine your doc practices but if he's talking about the liver with regard to fever then I tend to think he might be eastern in doctrine. If you are having trouble understanding him then please ask him for clarification. He's probably speaking about concepts that you have never heard of without knowledge of your own level of understanding on the subject. Pick his brain! Make him tell you in terms you can understand. Eastern medicine is a drastically different school of thought than what we are brought up with here in the US. I am only beginning to scratch the surface with my own understanding. I know that there are mamas around here who know much more about this stuff than I do. Maybe one will notice your post and have better advice than I can give you.
It's worrisome being a mom! .
Ibuprofen - acetaminophen just has never worked for any of us, and it's just too easy to OD a kid on the stuff.
I give my kids medicine when they are complaining of pain for more than an hour. I don't give it for fevers under 105, but I do for fevers over that because my kids are so miserable when that happens. It doesn't happen often. But I did give dd some tylenol (chewable) just the other night because she had a major cold, was really miserable and spent two hours lying on my chest moaning. I don't regret that at all, especially since I came down with the same cold last night and spent two hours lying in bed moaning!
Two other things just to look out for. Measles or Meningitis. The measles thing is only on my mind because I just read "Raising Your Vaccine Free Child" and learned about the measles and how to care for a child with it. One of the symptoms is eye soreness and if not kept out of the light during the pre-rash or rash period, it can cause blindness in serious cases. And, of course, my big fear is always meningitis - which I feared during my son's last virus but he didn't have any symptoms in his neck or eye sensitivity. But check out all the other symptoms before you freak. Apparently the test you can do easily with a toddler is to ask him to touch his chin to his chest and if he can with ease, its not meningitis. If not, take him to the ER.
Keep us updated. I know its hard to feel now, but this will pass. Its tough to see your LO feeling so bad. Fever is good though, and it doesn't matter that its high either. Just remember that.
Already!?!?! ~ Lori, doula, childbirth educator, wife to Jermaine 6/04, and mom to two happy and energetic boys - Tatum 6/06 and Keegan 3/09
Thank you for the warning about measles and meningitis- I will look up the symptoms and closely watch my ds- he is unvaxed. Something more to worry about...
I really appreciate everyones help.
Then DD(1) got it. I don't think she went over 103. She was more tired and a bit fussier than usually, but generally in good spirits. She was "hot" for one day, then by the next day was back to normal. We did nothing for treatment.
Then *I* got it. Yesterday morning I took DS out to gymnastics and did some Christmas shopping, but felt dizzy at times, light-headed and not myself. Got home to find a mild fever, about 100. Went to bed for the day, while my temp rose to about 103. When it got that high, I took a Tylenol. NOT because the fever was 'too high' but because I was so frikkin miserable!!! I shivered then roasted then swooned, I was just completely discombobulated.
I actually didn't expect much from it, but it helped ENORMOUSLY. The chills and sweats were gone... I was still 'under the weather' and still stayed in bed, but I felt mostly like myself and was able to rest.
I've taken 2 more since then, again not for fever but for comfort. I had to go out to church this morning -- no choice, I'm the organist! Normally I'm very much don't-medicate-unless-absolutely-necessary, but the last 2 days I was very grateful for the tylenol, and pleasantly surprised and just how effective it was!
My bigger concern with giving tylenol to kids is not about the acetaminophen itself (as pp's have said, if you're careful it's not dangerous). It's the crap they add to the 'children's' products, like sucralose and artificial flavourings. Sigh...
Anyway. My personal rule of thumb, based on what I have been told by health nurses, is that there's no "need" to worry about a fever or treat a fever unless: It stays high for more than 3 days, OR it goes over 104 and *does not respond to treatment*. In other words, if my child went up to 105, I would treat it (with a bath first, then with drugs if necessary). If the fever stayed high despite efforts to lower it, THAT is when to call the doctor.
Otherwise, as has been so wisely pointed out here, the fever is one of the body's ways of fighting infections. A crazy-high fever can be a sign that the body is overwhelmed and needs 'help'.