Fever: How high is too high?

It’s that time of year. The kids are back to school, germs are spreading and kids are getting sick. There is a lot of fear and mis-information surrounding fevers. I’d like to share some research as well as what we do in our household when one of our four kids has a fever. First, let’s review the basics:

If the body fails to get rid of a virus or bacteria, the body may resort to raising the body temperature to kill the germ. The temperature increases according to how much power it needs to kill the germ.

NORMAL BODY TEMPERATURE is 98.6 and can be up to 99.9 and still be considered normal for your child. A LOW-GRADE FEVER ranges between 100 – 102.2 and is very BENEFICIAL. A MODERATE-GRADE FEVER ranges between 102.3 – 104.5 and is also BENEFICIAL. A body temperature up to 104.5 is considered safe, beneficial and will help the body to get rid of the germ. A HIGH-GRADE FEVER is a temperature higher than 104.5. At this point most parents would be very concerned although this body temperature is STILL BENEFICIAL. With this body temperature the body is fighting something more than a common cold (usually bacterial). Although this temperature will not harm your child, I would recommend taking the child to the pediatrician at this point. A SERIOUS FEVER is 108 and above. This temperature is HARMFUL and can cause brain damage. It is not necessary to worry about your child’s temperature because it is not possible for a fever to get this high without other factors (example: child left in hot car for hours).

There is so much fear surrounding fevers, however, a fever is the body doing what it is made to do. Since most fevers are beneficial, the best thing to do when your child has a fever is to allow the fever to run its course. The fever will usually last 1-3 days. Please don’t be alarmed if the fever spikes in the late afternoon/evening- this is normal and natural. A fever is a good sign that the body’s immune system is functioning properly.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend fever-reducing drugs: “Fever is not an illness, rather, it is a symptom of sickness and is usually a positive sign that the body is fighting infection.” Even in cases of high temperatures, the AAP says, “Fevers generally do not need to be treated with medication unless your child is uncomfortable or has a history of febrile convulsions. The fever may be important in helping your child fight the infection.”

As parents, we don’t want our children to suffer. Rather than focusing on the number on the thermometer, treat your child based on their symptoms. Here's how: 1) Stop the child’s daily routine and rest. Decrease noise, light and activity. 2) Make sure your child gets a lot of clear fluids (water, tea, broth, soup, breast milk). Dehydration will make your child feel worse and slow the healing process. 3) Give your child a warm bath a few times a day. We like to add epsom salt in our baths because it adds comfort to the child and it helps to draw out wastes and toxins. Baths also help the child to sweat, which brings down their temperature. 4) Daily chiropractic adjustments. Every adjustment boosts the immune system by 200%, so the duration of fevers are much shorter with chiropractic care. 5) We do not use fever reducers in our home. I do not believe these medicines are safe for human consumption. Also, usually the fever becomes prolonged in children when these medicines are used. Using fever reducers can result in accumulation of waste in the body which can lead to chronic illnesses. 6) ALWAYS observe your child and please consult your pediatrician, or go to the nearest emergency room, if your child is not: * Alert * Able to be aroused

* Active * Able to be woken up * Drinking fluids * Urinating light pale yellow to clear urine * Making eye contact * Able to keep his/her head up * Able to speak * Responsive * Interactive * Consolable * Breathing comfortably *If your child is less than 3 months old and has a fever, please go to the nearest emergency room. *If your child has a fever and a rash of little dots under the skin, please go to the nearest emergency room. *If your child has a fever, neck pain and the light is bothering him/her, please go to the nearest emergency room. *If your child has a fever, along with urinary complaints, swollen joints, inability to walk, or other complaints that concern you, please seek immediate medical attention.

Hopefully with this information, I can help you become more confident in the health decisions you make for your family. My mission is to help families get back-to-the-basics in health care and to educate and empower so that our decisions for our families are not based on fear.