Fever can actually help kids battle illness: Experts
Running a high temperature can help your kid recover more quickly from illness as it makes a child slow down, rest and sleep more - all vital in recuperating, experts say.
November 20, 2012 / 01:16 PM IST
Running a high temperature can help your kid recover more quickly from illness as it makes a child slow down, rest and sleep more - all vital in recuperating, experts say. Hannah Chow-Johnson, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said she was often asked what to do about children with a high temperature, the Daily Mail reported. "My most frequent calls are from worried parents who want to know how high is too high of a fever. What many parents don't realise is that often, fevers are their child's friend," she said.
"Fevers can actually help your child recover more quickly, especially if he or she is battling a viral illness," she said. Researchers at Great Ormond Street Hospital have in the past claimed tackling a fever with medicine before it is allowed to run its course, may slow recovery time, because the temperature can help to kill the bacteria causing the illness. Fever is defined as a temperature over 37.5 degree Celsius, and can be a sign of something serious. Parents are advised to seek medical help if a child's temperature reaches 40 degree Celsius or above.
However, most fevers are caused by a viral infection, and clear up on their own within a few days. Chow-Johnson advised that fevers are safe since it is the body's way of controlling its immune response. She suggested that parents should not wake their kids from a deep sleep to give medications for the fever as sleep is more important. Ear and forehead thermometers are not reliable she said, so it is best to stick to a good, old-fashioned digital thermometer for the best accuracy. As far as how frequently a fever needs to be checked, once a day is sufficient, she added.
Parents goal should be their child's comfort, not reducing the fever. Be generous with fluids and ice-pops or lollies. Dress children in light clothing and give tepid baths to help cool them down, she suggested. However, there are times you should seek medical attention when your child has a fever such as: A child who is under eight weeks old and has a fever of 38 degree Celsius should be seen by a doctor immediately, she cautioned. Parents should also see a doctor here is no clear source for the child's fever (no cough, runny nose or known pain) and the fever has lasted for two to three days, she said.