Fevers, good or bad?

When your child gets a fever it is a good thing. It is their body’s way of fighting the infection (bacteria or virus). The body speeds up the metabolism to increase their heart rate and blood supply where it is needed, producing more white blood cells to devour pathogens, and increasing antibody responses to infection. A fever helps the body eliminate toxins and waste through mucus. Mucus is made up of white blood cells that contain the toxic residue. So when your child has a runny nose or coughing up mucus they are excreting the toxins from their body that are trapped in the white blood cells. If you were to give your child a decongestant or cough suppressant you are not allowing the child’s body to get rid of the mucus containing the toxins. Antibiotics can also suppress your child’s healing process and weaken the immune system along with Motrin or Ibuprofen (a known gut irritant) and Tylenol (a known liver/kidney toxin) to decrease their fever. Every time your child gets a cold and the immune system is allowed to work properly it makes your child’s immune system stronger.

Other benefits of a fever are more antibodies which are cells trained to specifically attack the exact type of invader that your child’s body is suffering from, it increases interferon production which blocks the spread of viruses to healthy cells, increases white blood cell mobilization and creates an inhospitable environment for invading microbes that cannot survive with an increased temperature. Six things you need to monitor closely when your child has a fever are:

  • Dehydration, pinch the skin on the top of your child’s hand and see how fast it retracts

  • Is your child lethargic or up and playing

  • Change in mental status

  • Urinary complaints

  • Trouble breathing

  • Ear discharge

Give your child clear liquids. Don’t give them drinks with high contents of sugar. If they are dehydrated give them pedialyte, water, broths or teas. A fever slows down digestion so if your child has an appetite give them fruits and vegetables, soups or just broths. Things that are easy to digest. Give them fresh whole foods keep them away from starches, sugar, dairy and processed foods, they place a burden on their immune system and create more of a toxic environment. If your child’s fever continues to increase or just not going down no matter what you do, try to make a warm, tepid bath for them to soak in. Make sure they get plenty of rest. They may seem lethargic or tired that is because their body is working overtime to carry out the functions of healing. You will need to seek medical attention if your child starts having any of the six conditions listed above. Use common sense. If your child is in severe pain, limp and unresponsive or has not improved within 3 days of treatment then you definitely need to seek medical attention. Another thing to add is if your child’s temperature is over 104 degrees and steady seek medical attention.