Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fevers: Healthy or Dangerous?

It's that time of year where the FLU and other illnesses are fresh on our minds. This blog will briefly help you to consider what might be a "healthy" vs. "dangerous" fever. Obviously if you are ever uncertain and concerned especially with regard to your child, then you should always err on the side of safety and consult your healthcare provider as to the condition you or your child are suffering from as various causes exist for fever.

This post is due to the fact that I often find many of my parent patients being wary of any fever whatsoever and generally immediately suppressing fever at its earliest onset in both their children and themselves. Understandably as parents we want to protect our children from all harm, however is this what we are really doing by knee-jerk response with medications to reduce fever? I always work to explain "what" fever really is to parents so that they more appropriately know how to respond.

Although "fever" (body temperature over roughly 100 deg F, whereas "normal" is 98.6 deg F) can exist for many reasons, with regards to "illness", fever is a normal response to help the body's immune system to properly cope with an infection in order to "heal." Generally fevers do not get above 102 deg F and last for only a day or two. In these circumstances you must ask yourself if it isn't wiser to "let the temperature go" and allow the body to due its proper course of healing because when the fever is suppressed, all to often the healing response also is suppressed. Therefore, although your child may "feel" better, the body has yet to properly deal with the infection and this often can lead to a "recurring" illness in an individual who has never gone the full course necessary to heal the infection. Under these circumstances, this individual seems to always be sick in a recurrent fashion.

This Blog is designed merely to get you thinking as a parent as well as for yourself regarding fever. Obviously there are many reasons for fever, however it could be argued that the "usual" fever is a very healthy and necessary response by your body in order to "completely" heal itself. Again, if ever in question, then ask your health care provider to help you make the best decision considering your particular circumstances. Otherwise, give strong consideration to the potential over use of symptom relievers that may not only be unnecessary, but also have long term detrimental effects.

We always make ourselves available for questions on any subject matter. We hope that you find this thought-stimulating and useful!

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