Preventative health is such an important part of healthcare! Keeping your body in a balanced and happy state most often eliminates the need for medicine or medical treatment. My family and I definitely try to practice preventative health but once in a while, despite our health-full attempts, one of the kiddos gets sick. My poor little Novah girl was sick all weekend long with a high fever. Now I really must say there is almost nothing worse than seeing a sweet innocent child sick in bed. I think for this reason alone many parents feel the need to treat whatever symptoms their little one is having, especially fevers. But did you know that fevers are a good thing? Often times fevers are looked upon as an illness, as a sickness in themselves, but they are actually a sign that our immune system is working. When we get sick our body usually knows exactly what to do to get us better. Fever is the body’s way of fighting off the bad stuff. It slows us down and bluntly says, “You’re sick. Get to bed, your body needs to rest.” Fevers can be scary and intimidating when it comes to kids but rest assured you're not the only parent feeling this way. Here are a few things to remember when/if your child’s temperature spikes…
- Everyone’s base temperature is different. Although 98.6°F is typical, some people’s temperature can measure 1-2°F above or below that on a daily basis. Our temperature also fluctuates according to activities, hormones, and outside stimuli.
- A fever usually indicates an infection but the fever is not the infection. A fever is our body’s temperature rising to create an unstable environment for the “bad thing” within us.
- A high fever caused by an infection WILL NOT cause brain damage. As stated before, a fever is our body’s defense system. It can reach 105° or 106° F and still not cause long term damage. It is when the body’s temperature rises above 108° F because of outside reasons, such as a child left in a hot car, that there is definite cause for alarm.
- You don’t have to treat a fever. A lot of parents automatically turn to tylenol or ibuprofen whenever a fever is detected but we have to remember a fever is a good thing. It’s helping our children to get well. Make your child comfortable, give them lots of fluids and let them rest. If the fever gets really high undress them (but don't make them too chilly because shivering often increases a temperature) place them in a lukewarm bath (not too hot and not too cold) or give them some herbal tea.
Rosemary's Catnip-Elder Fever-Reducing Tea
2 parts catnip
2 parts elder blossoms
1 part echniacea root
1 part peppermint
Mix the herbs and store in an airtight container
To make tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of the mixture and steep for 1 hour. Strain. Administer every 30 minutes. (I usually just let the kids sip on it throughout the day.)
- Read the signs. No one knows your child like you do. You know how they act when they don't feel well so trust your instinct if you sense there might be something wrong other than just an infection. Although a fever by itself should not cause worry other symptoms such as a sore neck, dehydration or extreme lethargy might indicate something serious. Checking in with your doctor will never hurt a thing.
- If your child is 4 months old or younger and has a fever you should call the doctor. An infant's immune system isn’t as developed as ours so we have to be extra cautious. Also if a fever lasts more than a few days you should check in with your doctor. Some fevers last a while. Novah’s lasted 3 days and 4 nights but an extended fever could be the sign of a serious infection.
Fevers are bound to happen but you don't have to panic. Review the list and trust yourself.