How to manage the “F” word, in children.
As a mom and a Naturopathic Doctor, I can relate to the fear around the “F” word – fevers in children.
There is absolutely times when fevers are a big deal, and emergent care should be sought immediately. (See points at end of the post for when to seek emergent care)
Beyond that many fevers are a chance for the body’s immune system to mature. Mild to moderate fevers allow the body to produce greater number of cells to fight off a virus or infection.
Evidence based studies show that although ibuprofen and acetaminophen treatment can increase comfort they do not shorten the duration of an illness. Nor does drug treatment decrease the risk of febrile seizures. (1)
Hydrotherapy is a great natural treatment to support a little one through a fever, in fact studies show just one hour of sponge bath provide similar results as antipyretic medication.
A great home treatment for fevers is called “magic socks”
All you need is 1 pair of cotton socks & 1 pair of wool socks
- Take the pair of cotton socks and completely soak in cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out so that they are not dripping.
- Warm feet up. It is nice to have a warm bath first and then do the wet sock treatment.
- Dry feet off.
- Put cold wet socks on and then the wool socks.
- Keep socks on overnight or during nap times. The socks should be dry by the morning.
Effects of the treatment:
This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease the congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many people will report sleeping better during treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing process during acute infections.
There are many other botanical and homeopathic preparations that can help support your little one naturally throughout a fever. Book a visit to prepare!
This is an educational post, and does no way replace a visit with a health practitioner, see the points below for when to contact emergent care in the case of a fever.
- Under one month old. Call your doctor right away if your baby’s temperature goes over 38.0°C (100.4°F) orally or 38.5° C (101.3°F) rectally, even if he or she doesn’t seem sick. Your doctor may want to see your baby and may want to put him or her in the hospital to find out what’s causing the fever. Babies this young can get very sick, very quickly. Also call your doctor if your baby has any of the warning signs listed below, even if he or she isn’t running a fever.
- One to three months old. Call your doctor if your baby has a temperature of 38.5°C (101.4°F) even if your baby doesn’t seem sick, or a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) that has lasted more than 24 hours. Also, call if your baby has any of the warning signs listed below.
- Three months to two years. If your child has a fever of 38.6°C (101.4°F), watch how he or she acts. Call the doctor if the fever rises or lasts for more than three days, or if your child has any of the warning signs listed below. If the temperature is 39°C (103°F), call your doctor even if your child seems to feel fine.
- Over two years old. If your child has a fever of 38.6°C (101.4°F), watch how he or she acts. Call the doctor if the fever rises or lasts more than three days, or if your child has any of the warning signs listed below.
- Source – The College of Family Physicians of Canada
(1) Does lowering a fever >101°F in children improve clinical outcomes?
J Fam Pract. 2010 June;59(6):353-360.