Panadol and neurofen should be a last resort when treating a fever. These medicines only reduce the fever, they do not treat the true cause of the fever which is usually infection. Fever phobia is widespread today where all parents fear their children’s fevers due to the slight risks of serious complications arising. Parents have a poor understanding of fever (Lagerløv et al., 2003).
What is a Fever?
Fever is the body’s normal and natural response to infection due to acute illness. A normal body temperature is approximately 37°C. Children with temperatures at 38.9°C or less don’t need medicine, except for babies at three months or higher. A fever has to reach 42 degrees to cause brain damage.
Paediatric consultant Dipak Kanabar (2014) insists that fever is a common symptom of childhood infection which in itself does not require treatment.
Benefits of Normal Fever
- helps your child’s body fight infection
- enhances white blood cell function (Blatteis, 1986) and stimulates the immune system into producing more of them, plus antibodies and interferon which attack pathogens
- when the body’s temperature raises it makes it very difficult for viruses and bacteria to survive
- the higher the temperature, the more viruses and pathogens are killed
Thus, if the child’s temperature is always lowered when they have a fever, the pathogens will not be killed; they will flourish in the body.
Side Effects of Long-term and Liberal Use of panadol & neurofen
The liberal use of antipyretic (fever-reducing medicine) has been found to cause health problems in the long-term (Kanabar, 2014). These medicines can cause:
- an allergic reaction
- can prolong the fever even more because the infection is flourishing
- gastrointestinal effects; irritation or bleeding
- renal effects; acute kidney injury
Chinese Medicine Theory and Fever
In Chinese medicine, we analyse all aspects of the fever. At what time of day it started, for how long, how high, if there is sweating accompanied or no sweating. If the fever is very versus very low. Children tend to get fever with illness because they have a lot of yang energy and their body’s immune system immediately starts fighting the pathogen. This differs to adults who’s immunity is more developed and the pathogen skips levels in the body, for example feeling well one day and then with a runny nose and sore throat the next with out any fever at all. The usual fever that children get when they come down with an illness is usually a wind-heat external pathogenic factor.
What To Do When Your Child Has Fever
- Comfort them. Cuddle them, sleep with them. Help them get through the fever and let them feel reassured.
- Offer them plenty of fluids and easy to digest food such as cooked fruit, rice, bone broth, soup etc. The old adage goes, “Feed a cold, starve a fever”.
- Treat the child, not the thermometer.
- Acupuncture supports reducing fever, in babies and young children the needles are inserted then usually removed instantly
- hydrate them with water and herbal teas such as peppermint, chammomile, lemon, ginger and honey
- double dose cod liver oil (1 teaspoon twice daily)
- Epsom salt baths
- Children over 2 can have Vitamin C every four hours, you can’t overdose on vitamin C and it treats the infection
A Chinese medicine consultation for your child aims to support their health and underlying imbalance through diet, acupressure and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture, moxa and cupping will be included depending on the age and comfort of the child.
If your child gets sick often or you are struggling with their nutrition and health lifestyle, Ilana is the experienced, caring and holistic health expert to support you.
At Femme Vital, expect the best holistic health consultation, tailored treatment and advice with 10 years experience supporting children’s health with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
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Blatteis, CM (1986) Fever: is it beneficial? Yale J Biol Med.; Mar-Apr; 59(2):107-16.
Kabana, D (2014) Practical approach to the treatment of low-risk childhood fever. Drugs RD: Jun; 14(2):45-55.
Lagerløv P, Helseth S, Holager T. (2003) Childhood illnesses and the use of paracetamol (acetaminophen): a qualitative study of parents’ management of common childhood illnesses. Fam Pract.; 20:717–723.