I had a mom in the office last week telling me that her 7 year old had a fever. I gave the child a high five and said that is awesome, your body is doing what it knows how to do.
To say the mom was shocked at my reaction would be a slight understatement. She wanted to know why I thought this fever was a good thing.
Let’s have a little physiology lesson today!
It is commonly accepted that 98.6 is a normal temperature. This number, however, represents an average. Some people are considered normal at 97.9 and some are 99.1. It is important to remember that.
Now what is a fever? A fever is a rise in the normal body temperature. This rise in temperature is typically due to infections such as colds and gastroenteritis.
The question begs asking, why does the body feel the need to raise the temperature when you have an infection? In the most simple terms fever is positive evidence of an active immune system, working to help a ton of immunological processes work more effectively.
If the body recognizes that something is not right in the body, let’s say it is a minor infection, and raises the temperature to kill it off, does it make sense to try and suppress what the body is designed to do?
In fact if we do that, aren’t we just letting the infection stay in the body and get stronger?
Think I am crazy? OK, yes I am crazy, however, some pretty smart people agree with not knocking fevers down right away.
In 1980, Dr. Barton D. Schmitt, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, published an article about what he termed “fever phobia.” Many parents, he wrote, believed that untreated fevers might rise to critical levels and that even moderate and low-grade fevers could have serious neurological effects (that is, as parents we tend to suspect that our children’s brains may melt).
A group at Johns Hopkins revisited Dr. Schmitt’s work in 2001, publishing a paper in the journal Pediatrics, “Fever Phobia Revisited” Their conclusion was that the fears and misconceptions persisted.
Of course no one is suggesting that fevers cannot get dangerously high, however, less than 5% of untreated fevers ever reach 104.
When your child has a fever, watch how they are acting and call your doctor. Do not be surprised if the doctor takes a wait and see approach.
While you are making phone calls, call your chiropractor as well. More than likely your little person could use an adjustment as well…it does the body good!