Fevers play an important role in the health of our children. Although there is a time and a place for concerns with childhood fever and possible intervention, the vast majority of fevers are not something to be feared, but rather just part of normal immune system function.
It is for this reason that the topic of fevers is addressed on this website. Allowing the immune system to function normally is vital to the health of our developing children. A fever is part of the normal process that the immune system uses to help your child deal with infection.
If this process is interfered with, it also interferes with your child’s ability to deal with pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. The immune system’s increasing of body temperature is just part the process in helping your child successfully eliminating these pathogens.
This article section is not designed to give specific medical advice for your child. It is simply here to put fever in perspective and help you understand the role that fevers play in the health of your child.
Although we are told by pharmaceutical commercials that fevers are bad and to give our kids drugs to bring down a fever, fevers actually play and important role in immune function and the healing process of the body. Interfering with this normal immune function can interfere with this normal healing process.
How high can you let them go?
Very high fevers – those above 106°F (41°C) – can harm the heart and brain. Some authorities, however, say that fever is unlikely to cause brain damage in a previously healthy child. During most infections, the brain keeps body temperature at or below 104°F (40°C).
What about febrile seizures?
— About 3 percent of kids get febrile seizures.
— The reason some children have this susceptibility isn’t well understood.
— Frightening as these seizures are for parents, they’re benign; once they pass, the child continues to develop normally.
Another excellent article on fevers:
— In one study during a measles epidemic in Ghana, Africa, children were divided into two groups.
— One group received antipyretics -- typical at many hospitals.
— Mortality was five times greater than in the group that did not receive this treatment
— Researchers concluded that "children with the most violent, highly febrile form of the disease actually had the best prognosis.”
— In another study conducted in Afghanistan, 200 children with measles were divided into two groups.
— Members of one group received aspirin to lower fever.
— The study revealed that children receiving the antipyretics had prolonged illness, more diarrhea, ear infections and respiratory ailments, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and laryngitis, and significantly greater mortality rates.
· NSAIDS and flu
· Since the use of NSAIDs were restricted in children in Japan in 2000, the case fatality of so called flu associated encephalopathy has fallen dramatically.
- "A small trial on the use of antipyretics (an agent that reduces or prevents fever) in an intensive careunit was stopped because mortality was 16% in the treated groupand 1% in the untreated group."