How do you handle a fever? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 02:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 6 month old had a fever the other night....I have a copy of Dr. Mendelson's How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of your Doctor which I refer to frequently.

 

He emphasizes that a fever is a good thing, and a sign that the body's immune system is kicking in.  He recommends NOT giving fever reducing medicine, or doing anything to bring down the fever, but letting it run its course.  He also suggests that most bacterial infections can be handled by our bodies and do not require antibiotics, where the risks can outweigh the benefits.

 

So, when my 6 month old got a fever, we went to the dr (we live in a malaria area so we always do a malaria check if any of us gets a fever) - she said it's just a bacterial infection and gave us an antibiotic.

 

The next night, my baby was awake several times in the night with a fever of around 103.  I kept going back and forth about whether i should give tylenol and antibiotic or not...in the end, I decided not to, the baby was fine the next morning and hasn't had a fever since.

 

My husband and mom don't understand my hesitation to give tylenol and are always making me question my choices to not give meds.

 

How do you handle fevers in your little ones?  DO you let them run their course, or give medicine?  Are you confident in the way you handle these illnesses?


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#2 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 03:14 AM
 
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I give an antipyretic, usually ibuprofen, if my LO is miserable and/or in pain wig the fever. If she seems happy enough then I don't give anything I just encourage lots of fluids.

She hasn't needed antibiotics for anything so far (she's 2 years old) but I wouldn't hesitate to use them if I felt they were warranted. And, if I started them, I would complete the course.

I do feel confident about how we treat her but i am an ED nurse and my DH is an ED nurse practitioner so we have a bit of an advantage there I think.

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#3 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 05:04 AM
 
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I do the same as katelove. If my kids are feverish but not uncomfortable, and still drinking fluids, then I let the fever run its course. If the kids are miserable and/or are not drinking enough fluids, then I give them Tylenol for the fever. I think it's most important for them to keep pumping in the fluids when they are going through a fever.

The fevers are usually short and viral in nature. For the rare occasions that they seem related to bacterial infection, I do agree to and complete the course of antibiotics. That rarely happens and generally only with the one kid who has always been more susceptible to strep.
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#4 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 05:05 AM
 
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p.s. My kids are older now, but I took the same approach when they were little.
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#5 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 05:11 AM
 
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Same here, I only give her an antipyretic when she starts looking miserable.

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#6 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 02:49 PM
 
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Fever a sign the body is in a healing phase, I therefore never medicate because it interferes with the natural process and wisdom of the body. My two unvaccinated children as babies, rarely, I would like to say never, but it was quite a long while ago, had fevers. My eldest had fevers that were the result of vaccination, and unfortunately, I did give Tylenol because I did not know better at the time. I feel totally comfortable not medicating my children's fevers because the integrity of their immune (healing support) system has never been breached through vaccination, and feel confident their body is working as it is supposed to. My children are never sick for longer than a couple of days. If they do get a fever, I try and keep them calm and warm under blankets and as comfortable as I can. None of my three children have ever required antibiotics for a bacterial infection (not that I would give them, there are better options IMO).


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#7 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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Depending on why they have a fever , I would either wait it out , if it doesn´t go too high and / or they are obviously miserable , but if they have no pain together with fever and it does go to a ( for me ) dangerous level , I would try naturally cooling the body first , by applying cool ( not cold ! ) compresses and plenty of ( also not too cold fluids ) 

If their fever was caused by an infection , I would give them antibiotics as prescribed and the full course , never reduce or stop , once they feel better and also if they are in pain , give them something against it . 

Yes , fever is a sign , the body is reacting to something wrong , but why let my baby ( or my older kids ) suffer unnecessarily ? 


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#8 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies - Dr Mendelson quoted a study in his book that when they artifically induced fevers in animals, they healed faster.  When they reduced their fevers, their illness lasted longer and more of them died.  So he argues to never give fever reducing medicine and that the body self regulates and unless the fever is caused by poisoning or some other unlikely events, the fever will not get high enough to cause bodily harm.  His book was written in the 80s so I'm wondering if there are any more recent studies that either support or disprove this.

 

Mirzam - What do you give as an alternative to antibiotics? 


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#9 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 04:25 AM
 
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That is not EXACTLY true , if a fever gets too high , small children can suffer from febrile seizures , so , yes fever is ( most of the time ) a good thing and shows , that the body is fighting back , but there are occasions , where it can get too much for a small person to handle


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#10 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 06:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post

 

Mirzam - What do you give as an alternative to antibiotics? 

 

I have never given my children any form of antibiotics because they have never been needed. However, I am prone to abscesses and always take colloidal silver which generally resolves them in about two days. I have also given my dog colloidal silver for a gastric upset, probably due to eating some deer poop, again, it resolved the issue within two days. The best answer is to ensure the body is in optimal health, through an immune system that has not been breached by vaccines , a natural whole foods diet, that is very low in sugar, devoid of GMOs and fluoride free, add plenty of sunshine, fresh air and low stress. That way, the body won't have any problem dealing with bacteria. If generally sickly, the most important thing to do is to heal the gut, which if antibiotics and vaccines have been given, isn't easy unfortunately. Bacteria are not the cause of sickness, they are present to assist the body breakdown or build up cells, so play an important role in the healing process. If things get out of hand it is because the body is struggling due to being compromised, then some intervention might be warranted. Flemming cautioned that antibiotics (anti life) should not be used routinely and should only be reserved for life threatening cases.


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#11 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 06:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tonttu View Post

That is not EXACTLY true , if a fever gets too high , small children can suffer from febrile seizures , so , yes fever is ( most of the time ) a good thing and shows , that the body is fighting back , but there are occasions , where it can get too much for a small person to handle

This might be the case if the child is not in optimal health to begin with, ie the "immune system" has been skewed via vaccines or the gut has been compromised by antibiotics, or is malnourished or highly stressed. The body is not a moron, it will not harm or damage itself unless it has been compromised in some way and is reacting abnormally to challenges.


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#12 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tonttu - Dr Mendelson argues that while frightening, febrile seizures do not have long term negative effects on children. He says that febrile seizures are caused by a rapid rise in temperature, and not by a high temperature in itself.  Therefore, he says once you notice the fever has jumped, it's too late for fever reducing medicine to reduce the risk of seizures. 

 

I think I am struggling with this just because what Dr Mendelson says makes a lot of sense to me, but it's so different than mainstream thinking about fevers and illness. 
 


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#13 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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Tonttu - Dr Mendelson argues that while frightening, febrile seizures do not have long term negative effects on children. He says that febrile seizures are caused by a rapid rise in temperature, and not by a high temperature in itself.  Therefore, he says once you notice the fever has jumped, it's too late for fever reducing medicine to reduce the risk of seizures. 

 

I think I am struggling with this just because what Dr Mendelson says makes a lot of sense to me, but it's so different than mainstream thinking about fevers and illness. 
 

Then I think , Dr. Mendelson should look at the cases of children , who´s fevers have gradually gone up and then caused seizures . 

The problem with seizures is , that ANYONE who ever had one , whatever the reason , has a lot higher risk in the future to have seizures again .

And for me , that is a long - term negative effect , since seizures , even supposedly mild ones can cause brain damage and other problems .


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#14 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tonttu - I don't know anything about febrile seizures, but after reading your post I googled febrile seizures to see if in fact they can cause long term effects.  So far, all of the mainstream medicine pages i'm reading say that the seizures are scary but harmless.  To quote a few:

 

While they can be frightening, febrile seizures usually end without treatment and don't cause any other health problems. Having one doesn't mean that a child will have epilepsy or brain damage.  http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/febrile.html

 

Are febrile seizures harmful?


Although they can be frightening to parents, the vast majority of febrile seizures are short and harmless. During a seizure, there is a small chance that the child may be injured by falling or may choke from food or saliva in the mouth. Using proper first aid for seizures can help avoid these hazards (see section entitled "What should be done for a child having a febrile seizure?").

There is no evidence that short febrile seizures cause brain damage. Large studies have found that children with febrile seizures have normal school achievement and perform as well on intellectual tests as their siblings who don't have seizures. Even when seizures are very long (more than 1 hour), most children recover completely, but a few might be at risk of subsequent seizures without fever (epilepsy).

In other words, between 95 and 98 percent of children who experience febrile seizures do not go on to develop epilepsy. However, although the absolute risk remains small, some groups of children--including those with cerebral palsy, delayed development, or other neurological abnormalities--have an increased risk of developing epilepsy. The type of febrile seizure also matters; children who have prolonged febrile seizures (particularly lasting more than an hour) or seizures that affect only part of the body, or that recur within 24 hours, are at a somewhat higher risk. Among children who don't have any of these risk factors, only one in 100 develops epilepsy after a febrile seizure.  http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/febrile_seizures/detail_febrile_seizures.htm

 

 

 

A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child triggered by a fever.

A febrile seizure can be very frightening for any parent or caregiver. However, most of the time, they do not cause any harm and does not mean the child has a more serious long-term health problem....The first febrile seizure is a frightening moment for parents. Most parents are afraid that their child will die or have brain damage. However, simple febrile seizures are harmless. There is no evidence that they cause death, brain damage, epilepsy, a decrease in IQ, or learning problems.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001975/


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#15 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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It's not just Dr Mendelson, even as-mainstream-as-they-come AAP says the same things on their website (healthychildren.org). Febrile seizures are a very rare occurrence and are not related to high fevers, they can occur at the very early stages and altough scary to watch are almost never harmful to the child. Also, the percentage of kids who have febrile seizures and other types of seizures (epileptic etc.) is very very low, so even if a child has febrile seizures at some point, that doesn't mean there are other underlying issues.

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#16 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 01:26 PM
 
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I did not say , they cause epilepsy , what I said , if you read my post carefully , is that anybody who ever had a seizure is at HIGHER RISK of having one again .

That is a difference ! 


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#17 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 01:40 PM
 
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I did not say , they cause epilepsy , what I said , if you read my post carefully , is that anybody who ever had a seizure is at HIGHER RISK of having one again .
That is a difference ! 

Do you have anything to support that be cause I have never found anything which suggests that typical febrile convulsions increase the risk of future seizures. *Atypical* febrile convulsions yes but not typical.

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#18 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 01:41 PM
 
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I didn't say they cause epilepsy either, I was just referring to the fact that many parents worry that if their kid has a febrile seizure it could mean they have other problems too (one of those might be epilepsy), whereas febrile seizures usually resolve on their own as the child grows and are very rarely associated with other brain issues.

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#19 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 03:21 PM
 
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I leave a fever unmedicated until it's time for me to go to sleep. I can't sleep in fear that a fever will spike to a dangerous level without me being aware, so I give IBproufen for a fever at bedtime. That being said- I only medicate fevers for one dosage. Anything over 104, and it's a trip to the doctor, urgent care, or the ER- whatever is open. My family tends to run low, so 104 is really high for us. DD's average resting temp is 96.6.


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#20 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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I do not reduce fever. From what I understand, morbidity and mortality increase when fever is reduced.

From what I have read, the body will not exceed a safe temp, the only exceptions are hyperthermia due to external reasons (ex. hot car) or poisoning. Fever is all too important in the body's defense against pathogens. Reduce the fever and allow the infection to increase, so to remove that important immune defense is a risk. I have made my son more comfortable by wetting his head, with warm water not cold, in order for the evaporation to cool his head. I have been able to nurse him back to sleep after that.

He will be 3 y.o. in the fall, and I hope that we have seen the worst of fevers. He had no fever for the first 14 months and then between 14 and 24 he had a few, fortunately no illnesses beyond mild ones. I really do believe that fever (along with breastfeeding) has been very important in keeping him healthy.

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