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Kiddie Wellness: Fevers

Earlier in the week, my active son was lying on the couch and being quiet so I knew something was up. It took just a quick look at his redder than rosy cheeks and tired eyes to know it was his temperature. My son and daughter have had just a few fevers, but the heat of their flushed faces and lil furnace bodies always causes me to worry. On one occasion, our pediatrician recommended acetaminophen to bring the temperature down, but normally we wait it out with plenty of fluids. To see why,


According to A.D.A.M.:

Fever is not an illness. Far from being an enemy, it is an important part of the body's defense against infection. Many infants and children develop high fevers with minor viral illnesses. While a fever signals to us that a battle might be going on in the body, the fever is fighting for the person, not against.

Most bacteria and viruses that cause infections in people thrive best at 98.6°F. Raising the temperature a few degrees can give your body the winning edge. In addition, a fever activates the body's immune system to make more white blood cells, antibodies, and other infection-fighting agents.

Many parents fear that fevers will cause brain damage. Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6°F (42°C). Many parents also fear that untreated fevers will keep going higher and higher. Untreated fevers caused by infection will seldom go over 105°F unless the child is overdressed or trapped in a hot place.

Some parents fear that fevers will cause seizures. For the great majority of children, this is not the case. However, febrile seizures do occur in some children. Once a child is already known to have a high fever, a febrile seizure is unlikely with the current illness. In any event, simple febrile seizures are over in moments with no lasting consequences.

Although infections are the most common causes of higher-than-normal body temperature, fevers have a long list of other causes, including toxins, cancers, and autoimmune diseases.


Join The Conversation
echeimler echeimler 8 years
I am a Registered Nurse in a Pediatric ICU, and we never just "let a fever go." We routinely give Tylenol if a fever reaches 38.5 degrees Celsius (101.3 F). If an illness is viral, it will run its course with or without a fever, and if it's bacterial, a fever won't help fight the illness - you will need antibiotics. A high fever can be harmful, and febrile seizures are nothing to be taken lightly.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Until they were about 4, my boys only ran fevers when they had an ear or throat infection, so medicating them for their comfort was a must. My daughter doesn't have a pattern yet.
alerixon alerixon 8 years
All seizures, even ones caused by high fever, have the possibility of causing brain damage. Not to frighten anyone, but if you child suffers from a seizure please call the Dr immediately.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
My daughter gets fevers in the 105 range and I usually give Motrin once they get that high, just to make her comfortable. When fevers get that high, they are usualy accompanied by headaches and bodyaches, in my experience anyway.
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