Before diving into the benefits and confusion of fevers, I will start with explaining a fever by age. You see, a newborn, infant and baby’s temperature is not categorized as a fever at the same numerical reading as a grown adult, or even a child for that matter.
Did you know that a temperature up to 100.4* is completely normally in an infant under 12 weeks of age? A child over 12 weeks, a toddler, even an adult has not reached a true fever until 104*. Nothing under this (100.4*) for a newborn is even considered an elevated temperature. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, the normal range of temperature for an infant is between 97-100.4*F. It is important to remember that a fever is not a form of illness. In fact, a fever is typically brought on by the body fighting off an infection or as a result of an immunization. Because a fever is generally caused by fighting off an infection, this can even be taken as a good sign of a baby’s developing immune system! With a healthy immune system, the fever should break within 48 hours.
When the immune system is weak, or fighting something, it is smart to start supplementing to strengthen it. By adding extra vitamin D, probiotics, and including colloidal silver, you can boost the immune system and have it ready to head into battle.
Fevers show that the body is doing exactly what it is designed to do. They are the body’s way of healing itself. When the child’s body increases in core temperature, it is preparing to battle. The temperature will rise to a level that is necessary to keep the invading virus or bacteria from growing or reproducing more. The fever causes everything to slow down and allows the body a chance to build up antibodies to fight off the disease. Treating the fever with medication reverses this situation and tricks the body into cooling down before it is ready. The fever also acts as a catalyst to speed up enzyme reactions and metabolism. It is during this time that the body begins to repair tissue. Allowing the fever to run its course is the easiest and smartest way to beat the invading illness.
The best piece of advice you will get is to step away from the thermometer. You will know when your baby is under the weather and feverish. Unless that baby is so hot that your mama bear instincts are screaming at you to run to the ER, then knowing a specific number won’t do anything but cause you anxiety. (And have you rechecking that temperature every 10 minutes!) Fevers are more frightening than harmful. They are usually a sign that the body is fighting an infection of some kind. According to www.askdrsears.com the top three reasons for a fever in an infant are:
Viral Infection: The most common cause of fever in children. Roseola, colds, flu, hand-foot-mouth disease, chicken pox, fifth disease, along with many other viruses cause fever. Most viruses are not dangerous. They simply need to run their course over several days. They are not treatable with antibiotics. They are contagious, though, and baby should be kept home until the virus has passed.
Bacterial Infection: Ear infections, sinus infection, pneumonia, bladder infection, and strep throat are all bacterial infections that cause fever. Antibiotics can be used (or homeopathy and other natural remedies), but a trip to the emergency room is not needed, call your pediatrician in the morning.
Teething: A fever up to 101*F is common while teething.
Fever is also a very common side effect of vaccines and should be treated as a vaccine injury if the fever causes a seizure, brain swelling, or any other illness. (Directly from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm )
Being skin-to-skin with baby in a lukewarm bath will assist in cooling baby off gradually and will prevent him from getting too cold too quickly. It is also encouraged to ensure your baby is drinking a lot of liquids and kept in a cool room, out of the sun. If you are breastfeeding, nurse him around the clock. Breastmilk has antibodies in it created specifically for your child and the environment you are currently in. (www.kellymom.com )
If your child is old enough to consume food, is no longer nursing, and is showing signs of illness, most people will recommend you supplement with pedialyte. Before you go grabbing the sugar, preservative, and dye-filled drink, think about making a homemade version instead.
Homemade Pedialyte Recipe: (Source: 100 Days of Real Food)
- 1 quart water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Note: If you fear your child will think this drink is too plain consider adding in a couple splashes of orange Juice. Also, the sugar and salt may dissolve more easily if you warm up the water first.
The main reason to treat your child’s fever is to make him feel better. When he is achy, fussy, crying, not sleeping, or slightly lethargic, you may want to try a handful of natural methods of lowering the temperature to help with his comfort level. Just remember that you are treating a symptom and not the illness by lowering the temperature. Another note worth mentioning, a fever does not always present itself as a hot forehead, a fever can show as lethargy, overly thirsty, a poor appetite, poor sleeping, or a seizure.
Ways to help: (www.askdrsears.com )
- Skin-to-skin, kangaroo care keeping baby chest to chest with you to help regulate body heat
- Rest: Do NOT wake your child up. Rest is best!
- Give your child plenty to drink to prevent dehydration (not enough fluid in the body) and help the body cool itself. Water, clear soups, and popsicles are. If your child isn’t getting enough fluids, don’t force him to eat if he doesn’t feel like it. (Breastfeed around the clock if possible.)
- Keep your child quiet. Moving around can raise the temperature even more.
- Keep the room temperature between 70°F to 74°F.
- Dress your child in light cotton pajamas so that body heat can escape.
Don’t over bundle your child. Overdressing can trap body heat and cause your child’s temperature to rise.
- If your child is chilled, put on an extra blanket but remove it when the chills stop
A fever is the body’s way of testing the immune system. Regular chiropractic care keeps the immune system ready to fight. A study showed the effects of specific upper cervical adjustments increasing healthy cell counts. Along with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, chiropractic care adds to the building blocks of a strong immune system. (http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/FULL/Kent_Model_of_Subluxation.pdf)
Most pediatricians recommend to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help reduce fever. Here is the APA stance of alternating therapies:
“…questions remain regarding the safety of this practice as well as the effectiveness in improving discomfort, which is the primary treatment end point. The possibility that parents will either not receive or not understand dosing instructions, combined with the wide array of formulations that contain these drugs, increases the potential for inaccurate dosing or overdosing. ”
So, it is best to let the fever ride out and don’t panic it’s just a fever.
Contrary to everyone’s belief, taking the temperature rectally is quite controversial should not be done at home. A thermometer must be inserted at least 5 cm to obtain a stable core temp. This insertion temp risks perforating the rectum and can possibly end in death. Perhaps, leave this for the extremely rare instances in the hospital when the absolute most accurate reading is needed. (http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/nixrectl.html )
Above all, trust your gut instincts. If you truly feel that your child is seriously ill, contact your doctor or head to the emergency room. You have every right to call your pediatrician and ask questions to calm your anxiety and have your questions answered.