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Steven Brown, MD, FAAP
Your Child’s Fever: Friend or Foe?
Primary Pediatrics
. http://www.PrimaryPedsMD.com

Your Child’s Fever: Friend or Foe?

Your Child’s Fever: Friend or Foe?

A fever in a child usually generates much anxiety in parents because of the many myths about this condition that have been perpetuated for years.

It is important to understand that a fever is a normal reaction of the body as it fights off an invading agent, such as a virus. Thus, it is a symptom of an illness and not an illness itself.

We need to control fevers only to make the child more comfortable while the underlying illness is fought off or treated.

When a fever is treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, the child’s temperature may not go down all the way to normal. This is acceptable, as a fever is typically not causing damage and is helping to fight infection.

Of great concern to many parents is the possibility that a fever might keep rising, and cause brain damage. A temperature of over 107 can cause neurologic and other issues, but the body rarely allows temperatures to rise much above 105 unless a child is severely dehydrated and exposed to extremely high outside temperatures.

What is usually most important is not the level of the temperature, but how the child is behaving. Most children will be less active when a temperature is elevated, but even at a low temperature a truly lethargic and non-interactive child is of greater concern.

Another worry of parents is that a fever might cause seizures. It is important to realize that febrile convulsions are relatively rare (only four percent of children experience one), are not related to the level of the fever, and while certainly scary to see, cause no permanent harm.

We hope this short article will help parents feel better by showing you that fever is really your friend.

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