Parents: Don’t fear all fevers

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Parents: Don’t fear all fevers

For years I’ve tried to reassure the parents of the kids in my practice that “fever is your friend.” My advice is based upon studies that show that NOT treating a fever will help children recover more quickly from viral illness. It’s almost as if fever is part of God’s divine design to help kiddos fight colds.
Yet, I still find many parents become panicky when their child develops a low-grade fever. In fact, the AP reports, “Fever phobia is rampant among parents of young children, according to a myth-busting report” from the American Academy of Pediatrics published in the journal Pediatrics.
This new report joins me and most seasoned family physicians and pediatricians in advising AGAINST treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen every time a child’s “temperature inches up.”
CNN in its “The Chart” blog noted that although approximately 33 percent of all visits to physicians who care for children “are due to fever, usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection,” the study authors said most fevers are reduced “fairly quickly, are benign, and may actually protect the child.”
Still, study author Dr. Janice Sullivan from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, “stresses that it’s more important to monitor children for symptoms of serious illness and to make sure they don’t become dehydrated instead of becoming overly concerned with how high or low a fever may be.”
MedPage Today also covered the story and wrote this to doctors:

  • Explain that new guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics seeks to disabuse parents of the popular belief that all fever requires immediate treatment.
  • Note that the Academy recommends that parents not wake children to provide medication, and should also be cautioned about giving other cough and cold products that contain an antipyretic at the same time, which could result in overdose.

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