It doesn’t matter if you are a first time parent or a seasoned grandparent, fevers are scary! Believe it or not, fevers are actually there to help the body. It a sign that something is going on with the body. Hopefully this post will help alleviate some of the fear and empower you with some alternative ways to treat a fever.
Before I begin, please know that I am in no way saying that you should not intervene or seek medical attention. Immediately seek medical attention if child becomes lethargic and/or unresponsive, is younger than 3 months and has a fever over 100.3*, you have tried everything and the fever cannot be brought down, or an older child/adult has a temperature over 104*. If a fever is accompanied by a stiff neck, persistent crying that cannot be calmed, rash, or difficulty breathing, please seek medical attention.
Fevers associated with teething are normal and can be as high as 100*. For more information about teething, check out Teething Pain.
For a vast majority of people in the world, their normal body temperature is 98.6*. Most viruses and bacteria thrive at this temperature. When a virus or bacteria overruns your defenses, the body responds by upping its internal temperature in hopes to kill off the germs. Increasing the body’s temperature also stimulates the immune system to send extra help.
Loose clothing and light sheets can help the child feel more comfortable. Heavy PJ’s and thick blankets will keep in heat, increasing the fever. A temperature should never be taken after a child has drank or has been under thick blankets, as this will alter the results. Wait 5-10 minutes after a child has had food or water, or awaken before taken their temperature.
Fevers can dehydrate the body, so staying hydrated is very important. Nursing, fruit juice, water, vitamin water, chicken broth, non-dairy smoothies and other fluids should be made available to the child at all times. Depending on the age of the child, you may have to frequently remind them to drink. It is normal for a nursing infant to comfort nurse (meaning to nurse constantly) when they don’t feel good.
Tempered (cool but not cold) baths can help the body lower its temperature and may ease aches and pains without stopping the body from fighting the “invader”. In some cases, this may also cause shivering which will increase the fever. Covering a child in a thin sheet will help the body stay warm while it fights.
Popsicles are a great way to help little bodies cool down. Personally, it doesn’t matter what popsicles you use. I normally use whatever I happen to have on hand, but if you are concerned, fruit popsicles, like Outshine, contain natural fruit juice and no artificial sweeteners. Folk wives believe that the sugars in natural and regular popsicles provide energy to the body, thus helping the body fight the fever.
If you wish to create your own, take your child’s favorite juice and dilute it with water. If you don’t have popsicle molds, pour the juice into small cups or a popsicle mold, cover the cups with Seran wrap and push a popsicle stick or flat ended toothpick into the cups.Place in the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours, or until frozen.
Herbs for Kids creates an herbal blend called Temp Assure that can be given to children as young as 1. This tincture contains herbs that helps the body lower its temperature as well as boosts the child’s immune system. When you can, dose a child according to their weight and not age. It can be purchased online at Herbs for Kids or at your local health food store, such as Natural Grocers. Temp Assure should not be used in children with an auto-immune disorder or taking immunosuppressant drugs, as it contains an ingredient that stimulates the immune system.
If you choose to treat a fever using Tylenol please make sure to read the instructions on the box carefully. When you can, dose a child according to their weight and not age. Infant Tylenol and Children’s Tylenol can be purchased at any local drugstore.
Remember, you know your child and what you are comfortable with, always follow your instincts!