This week in practice I have seen an awful lot of Tonsilitis, Strep Throat, Otitis Media, and grumpy teething babies.
Even though each child has a different illness, and is presenting their symptoms in a unique way, they all started with the same major tell tale sign…
A fever is one of the most common reasons a parent will seek medical attention for a child.
I know that almost all parents I consult with believe that fever is a disease rather than sign or symptom of an underlying illness.
And almost all of these parents have the fear that a fever can be dangerous enough to cause brain damage or death.
Due to this misconception, I would like to shed some light on what a fever is, and why I love to see them in my practice.
A FEW interesting FACTS about FEVERS:
- A fever is not a disease in itself.
- A fever is a symptom, or a way or the body dealing with an illness.
- Bacterial infections usually produce temperatures from 38 to 39.5 degrees Celsius.
- Viral infections usually result in temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.
- A very high fever may produce irritability, hallucinations and delirium.
A fever is our body’s way of creating an immune response to an invading pathogen (viral or bacterial).
Our incredibly smart bodies will reset our internal temperature to create a less hospitable environment for pathogens to grow. ( Picture: A Dry, Hot, uninhabitable dessert-not a very comfortable place to holiday in).
However when an anti-pyretic is given, the body temperature drops, usually to a level suitable for pathogens to multiply. (Insert, airconditioners, umbrella’s, swimming pools, and cool refreshing liquids on tap- now we have created a great holiday destination for the invading bacteria and viruses).
So while a Barren hot dessert is the ideal space needed to destroy the invading bugs, creating this environment can also be quite an uncomfortable experience for our kiddies.
Below are some tools that you can use to help your child navigate their fevers:
- Get to know your child’s normal body temperature when they are not ill
- Take the temperature under the armpit. Leave the thermometer for 5 minutes and add 0.5 degree Celsius to the reading.
- Keep the child as quiet and restful as possible and encourage them to drink fluids- suck ice cubes
- Bath the child frequently in a tepid bath, ( not cold)
- Respond to your child’s needs- if they are cold: warm them, if they are hot: undress them
- Do not give aspirin based medicine (more on this later)
- Do not force the child to eat if they are not hungry
When to seek Medical advice:
- The fever is above 39.5 Degrees Celsius and not responding to treatment or cooling baths
- Your baby younger than 6 months old has a fever for more than 24 hour
- The child has a history of convulsions
- There are signs of dehydration and the child will not drink
- The child is listless or limp- there is a lack of reaction or response
The body has an inborn knowledge of what needs to be done in order to heal itself. A fever is the body’s first line of defense to invading pathogens, by allowing your child to create a fever as an immune response, they are able to fight off the invading pathogens and this ultimately leads to longer-term immunity and health.
In my opinion when we use medications to suppress a fever, we are preventing the development of immunity and in doing so, we suppress our inherent ability to heal from within.
I prefer to incorporate the use of Homoepathy to assist and ease the process of the fever response.
It corrects the underlying imbalance, stimulates the body’s natural ability to self-heal, and significantly reduces recovery time. With a little knowledge, it’s also simple to use in the home.
Below are my top FOUR Homoepathic remedies for fever:
For the early stage of fever, the onset is rapid and intense, and the fever is high. The fever may have been preceded by a shock or fright, or exposure to a cold, dry wind. The child will be agitated, restless, and anxious. They are usually sweaty and thirsty for cold drinks. Pupils may be constricted.
The child will have a hot head, with a bright red or flushed face,especially the cheeks. Pupils will be dilated with an intense headache that is usually throbbing in nature. The child will feel more comfortable in a darkened room.
Complaints triggering the fever, such as middle ear infections and tonsillitis will usually occur on the right hand side.
A very useful remedy for the first stage of an acute illness when inflammation is present but it is too early for clearly defined symptoms. The fever may be high but its onset is not as rapid or as intense as is seen with an Aconite or Belladonna fever. The child’s face is usually flushed and there may be reddened patches on the cheeks.
The Pulsatilla fever can be either high or low, but the child will be clingy and easily upset. They want constant cuddles and affection, climbing onto your lap and snuggling into you if you sit down. They feel worse for warmth and stuffy rooms but feel much better when gently carried in fresh air. They will often present with a thirstless fever.