Fever

fever-largeWhen you or your child has a fever a level of panic sets in. After all you’ve been trained to think of a fever as a bad thing that must be treated.

Let’s look at fever. Normal body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) right? Wrong! 37 degrees Celsius represents an average. Your child’s body temperature (and yours) hovers anywhere between 35 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius and still be considered normal. Fever is heat and normal body heat is the result of your body working as it is meant to, under the perfect control of the nerve system.
When your child is fighting an infection two things happen. First, the nerve system increases heat production to “burn up” the invading germ. The germ likes normal body temperature it doesn’t like an increased heat which kills it. Secondly, the nerve system speeds up respiration, heart rate, breathing, makes the skin moist and shivering (which is muscle contractions to produce heat). This activity also produces more heat. This is fever which is a good thing.
Fever is the body doing what is meant to do and is an expression of health it is not a bad thing. The most important thing is to understand why the body is producing a fever and allow your child’s body to do what it needs to do.
If fever is present with severe pain, your child cannot retain fluids and/or has diarrhea, has difficulty breathing, urinating, or swallowing or has a rash and pulse rate over 120 per minute then the advice of a health professional should be sought.
Why take your child’s temperature? You don’t. As a father with 2 children we have never taken our children’s temperature or done anything to reduce any of their fevers (other than a tepid bath).
Next time your child has a fever, understand why. Don’t try to lower your child’s temperature; you may actually delay recovery.
Oh and in closing. The American Hospital Association does not consider a fever as dangerous until it reaches 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
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