mama's who don't treat fever- when to be concerned - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 12-21-2007, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there,

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.

WWYD????

Thanks,

Tara
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#2 of 29 Old 12-21-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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We don't treat fevers unless our dc really can't sleep. I've never given fever-reducing meds to ds and only a couple of times to dd.

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.
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#3 of 29 Old 12-21-2007, 11:27 PM
 
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I would treat behavior, not fever. No matter the fever if he seems *okay* I wouldn't worry.

-Angela
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#4 of 29 Old 12-21-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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It sounds like you are doing a good job! The best thing for him will be that sleep.
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!

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#5 of 29 Old 12-21-2007, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies- my son's fever went to 105 and he wasn't sleeping, so we gave him some tylenol. He is complaining that his eyes are hurting. This was almost an hour ago and he is finally comfortably sleeping. His fever is also going down. I really don't like putting meds in his little body, but I just couldn't watch him as uncomfortable as he was.

He doesn't seem to have any other symptoms, and we will watch him as you have said.

Thanks, again.

Tara
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#6 of 29 Old 12-21-2007, 11:56 PM
 
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I worry when there is dehydration and severe lethargy with a fever.

And I would treat any accompanying pain - but never with Tylenol.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#7 of 29 Old 12-21-2007, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What would you treat it with? Tylenol was the only thing we had.
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#8 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:03 AM
 
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Ibuprofen - acetaminophen just has never worked for any of us, and it's just too easy to OD a kid on the stuff.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#9 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:10 AM
 
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Ibuprofen - acetaminophen just has never worked for any of us, and it's just too easy to OD a kid on the stuff.
The research pointing to overdose problems with tylenol talks about giving too much and too often. If you carefully follow the dosage amount for weight and age, you won't have a problem. If you have any concerns, call a doctor.

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.
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#10 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:14 AM
 
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As a rule I do not treat fevers. I would treat severe discomfort.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#11 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A fever of 105 is kinda scary. Not being able to sleep and complaining of his eyes hurting pushed me to use the meds. Yes, I too am wondering what brought this on. I keep asking my ds what is hurting and specifically if his ears are hurting and he keeps saying 'no'. He did become more lethargic throughout the evening, but I wouldn't call it severe. I tried meds one time in the past, and what it did was seem to prolong the fever- I guess his body wasn't getting the signals to fight. It's a tough call. I have to go to a clinic that is only open M-F, so if I need to call a doc. my only option is the ER. I really DON'T want to do that. Hopefully this will pass soon.
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#12 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:25 AM
 
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I also treat discomfort and not the fever itself. My 3yr old ds had a 103 fever for three days last summer and came through it with no meds whatsoever, just lots of fluids and rest. I was also watching his behavior more than the degree of his fever. I usually go by the "3 day" rule, if the fever last more than 3 days I will call my ped to see what he thinks.
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#13 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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sore eyes during a fever usually indicates a drain on vitamin A, if i'm not mistaken. perhaps an extra dose of cod liver oil might be called for...

Jennifer, Naturopath and mom

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#14 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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sore eyes during a fever usually indicates a drain on vitamin A, if i'm not mistaken. perhaps an extra dose of cod liver oil might be called for...
Wow, very interesting. Thanks so much... Now I have to get me some cod liver oil! :
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#15 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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That is high.
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.

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#16 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:52 AM
 
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My dd spiked to 105 with a virus. We used a warm bath to bring it down. She was feeling better (not totally- but still...) by morning.

-Angela
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#17 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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I don't know if this will be any help but in case it is, I'd thought I'd share this article. I am sorry I can't source it besides for the credit listed at the end. My uncle is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and when I wrote him freaking about my ds being sick awhile back, he sent me this:

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.
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#18 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 01:24 AM
 
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Great post motherwren. Thanks for sharing. It is always a battle between SO and I when my lil one gets a fever. It's not easy convincing him not to medicate when dc is feeling so miserable.
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#19 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 06:19 AM
 
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I would not reduce a fever unless I guess my child needed to eat and drink more than I think they needed the fever. That's never happened. 105 in a toddler is more like 103 in an adult. Now if I was running 105 I imagine I would be very very sick indeed if my body needed to be that hot to fight it.

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.
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#20 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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...

Thanks again!

Tara
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#21 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 12:06 PM
 
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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.
Tara
Well, when I told my uncle that I fed my ds anyway because he asked for a sandwich, he said something like, "yea they will ask for sandwiches..." sorry I know that's not very helpful other than to indicate that kids don't realize that their liver can't handle food. I am sure they get hungry while fasting. My kid is so picky and NEVER ate any food back then so a request for solid food to me was like a miracle to me. Or so I thought.
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! .
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#22 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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Ibuprofen - acetaminophen just has never worked for any of us, and it's just too easy to OD a kid on the stuff.
Not if you follow the weight guidelines and don't give it often. The advice nurse I talked to the evening ds spiked a 106 degree fever said that the OTC doses usually are under. ODing happens mostly when parents give combination medications (so cold medicine with tylenol and then tylenol separately). I sincerely doubt that many moms on MDC aren't reading the labels carefully enough to avoid that.

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!

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#23 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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We just went through a virus like this for exactly 4 days, the fourth day being a little less miserable. Mornings, almost normal like behavior, not eating foods, nursing lots, and low fever. After nap, high fever almost immediately to 103-104 and stayed like that on my lap nursing constantly almost until he'd start throwing up around 7 or 8 everynight. That would go on till 11-1 ish and very lethargic. It was hard on me, too, a mom who believes in fever and all that jazz. But his fever wouldn't come down till some point in early morning hours. He slept no more than an hour at a time most nights, and I never medicated or brought down the fever through baths or any other means. I kept reading a section of a book called "Fever is a Friend" and kept reminding myself of the facts and tried to imaginen what his body was going through and that he just needed care and attention and liquid. If it had gone on one more night, I may have given him tylenol only so that we could all have gotten some better sleep because it was so draining on him and I and dh. But, I felt so empowered afterwards knowing I followed my instincts and let his body heal itself without my interference. Only one night did I get truly worried because he kept throwing up my milk and I feared dehydration. But, I kept checking for signs of it, and he had none and still kept great eye contact with us even at his tired state.

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!?!?! cold.gif  ~ Lori, doula, childbirth educator, wife to Jermaine 6/04, and mom to two happy and energetic boys - Tatum 6/06 and Keegan 3/09

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#24 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 11:16 PM
 
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i didn't have time to read all of the posts, i don't know if anyone mentioned homeopathic belladonna. we use that to treat fevers if they seem too intense for the child - sometimes i've had to sponge my elder child to cool her a bit, she gets into hallucinations when her fever really spikes...homeopathics are the only thing we've ever used. belladonna helps a lot, and gets her to sleep well. she is very efficient, burns hot and bright and is done quickly.

*
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#25 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your responses. You guys have been really helpful and supportive. We had another day of high fever- he seemed pretty good in the morning, but as the day wore on he became more and more lethargic. I have been trying to keep food away- of course, I had to go out for about 1/2 hour this afternoon, and when I got home there dh and ds were eating cereal. My ds isn't vomiting- he has a very runny nose and a cough... He is sleeping right now. We'll see how long this lasts. It does feel good to stay away from the meds, though.

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.

Tara
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#26 of 29 Old 12-22-2007, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just noticed the information about the belladonna- I will definitely try that.

Thank you.
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#27 of 29 Old 12-23-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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Our whole family has just been through a bout of flu. Not "stomach flu" but true influenza. DS(9) got it first. His fever was about 104 for about a day. We did nothing. He slept a lot, but otherwise wasn't really in any pain or discomfort. He was 'really sick' for about 2 days. Now he just has the lingering cough and some mild fatigue, but is pretty much 'mended'.

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'.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#28 of 29 Old 12-23-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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I too will treat for discomfort but not the fever itself. My son however has Epilepsy and other health issues that require us to keep his temp. below 100 so unfortunately I have to treat his fevers.

Nicole, mom of 3. Mitochondrial Disease.: Epilepsy
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#29 of 29 Old 12-24-2007, 12:27 AM
 
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We dont treat fevers unless they last more than 2.5 to 3 hours or until ds is wearing down. We use peppermint oil on his feet and neck.. that will break it quickly if need be. Hope he feels better!

Mother to 3 wonderful boys. Doula, MW apprentice, Photographer, Foster/adoptive mom, twin mom and advocate for much.
fairyandgnome is offline  
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