Fever: What to Do & When to Call the Doc

Being a mom and a health care provider, I am often consulting parents who are nervous about their kid’s fevers. As soon as the temp is over 101 a lot of folks start to worry, and give their kiddos something to lower the fever (usually Tylenol). But (in my opinion**) this is really not the best course of action, and here’s why:

Why do we get a fever?

When there is an infection in the body (including a common flu virus) the body needs to amp up its immune response. In order to spark the immune response that your body needs to fight the infection, it needs to increase its temperature to AT LEAST 102.8 degrees.

If the body never hits this temperature, it can’t fight off the infection on its own. Period. And if you don’t let a fever get high enough to burn off the infection, the healing process takes A LOT longer. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, that I see all the time:

A kid comes down with a fever of 101. The parent gives them Tylenol to suppress the fever. The child feels a bit better because their fever is reduced, and their body aches are relieved by the Tylenol. A few hours after the Tylenol wears off, the fever comes back. This cycle repeats itself over and over for several days, weakening the child’s overall Qi, and vastly prolonging the child’s recovery.

Treatment Alternative

1. Rather than suppressing the fever, let it ride*. The human body is (usually) strong enough to heal itself, and a fever is its number one tool to do so. As a general rule of thumb, instead of following the temperature readout, read your kid! If they seem to have energy and vigor, let that fever ride!! If they appear to be lethargic, have neck stiffness, light sensitivity, have a fever lasting more than 2 days, appear lackluster, signs of dehydration, or have difficulty concentrating or focusing, now is the time to call the doctor and give the child pharmaceuticals.

2. Use herbs. Our ancestors have been successfully treating mild fevers for THOUSANDS of years with medicines from the earth. They are by far the most effective remedies. Using herbs will help the body kill the virus more quickly, and get your child up and running much faster, without depleting their Qi from the constant cycle involved in quelling the fever over and over again with Tylenol. For a fever, I make a tea for my son from fresh herbs from my garden. The main herb, Yarrow, will actually help to raise the body temperature over 102.8, in order to spark the immune response, and then appropriately cool the body to help it heal. Here’s my basic recipe for fresh herbs steeped covered for 7-10 minutes**:

Thyme

Calendula

Yarrow

Echinacea

Lemon Balm

Honey

*Please note I am talking about a mild fever ranging from 99 to 104.

WHEN WESTERN MEDICAL INTERVENTION IS CRUCIAL:

-If a child under three months has a fever over 100.4 or exhibits any serious symptoms

- If the fever lasts more than two consecutive days

-If they appear to be lethargic, have neck stiffness, light sensitivity, lackluster, signs of dehydration, or have difficulty concentrating or focusing

-If child exhibits any sign of respiratory distress (Seek immediate help)

-If there has been any exposure to toxins or poisons that may have caused the fever

Always use your intuition. If you think there is a serious issue, consult your physician!!

**DISCLAIMER: Always consult your healthcare provider before changing your treatment practices. The above statements have not been approved by the FDA.

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© 2018 Abby Rappoport L.Ac. (CA), MSOM, CMQ, RH (AHG)