If you have a young child, then you undoubtedly have to deal with cold and flu viruses like other parents. Typically, young children will get about 8 to 10 viruses each year. Your child may experience a fever when they get the flu. While most parents run for the acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat a fever, this is not always the best idea. Keep reading to understand why you do not always need to treat a fever and also when it may be best to do so.
Should You Treat a Fever or Not?
Fevers are an abnormal rise in body temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. This rise in temperature occurs in response to a viral or bacteria intruder in the body. When the immune system detects an intruder and notices that a viral or bacterial infection is widespread, the immune system informs the brain to reset the normal resting body temperature. The base temperature is set higher than normal, and the body warms up to reach the temperature.
The higher body temperature is meant to fight off the virus in the body. Most viruses that affect humans thrive at the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, viruses can multiply completely unchecked. This causes the infection to worsen, and your child will feel sicker and sicker. When the temperature rises, the body will surpass the temperature that the microorganisms require to multiply and survive. The body can then fight off the viral infection properly.
A fever will rise until the immune system detects that the virus is actively being killed. Children have young immune systems that can take longer to learn how to fight off a virus properly. This is one reason why children often have higher fevers than adults. This is normal, and it allows the body to create the antibodies it needs to fight the specific virus. If you decide to give your child a pain reliever while the body is fighting, then the fever will reduce, and the virus will be able to multiply once again. This can lengthen the amount of time that your child will be ill, and a higher fever may develop once the pain reliever wears off. It is much better to allow your child's body to fight off the infection naturally instead.
When Should A Fever Be Treated?
While a typical illness and fever should not be regularly treated, there are some cases where you can and should give your child a pain reliever. If you have a baby, then a pain reliever can be given. However, if your child is younger than about three months, then it is wise to seek medical treatment instead. Young babies are extremely sensitive to higher body temperatures.
Also, if the fever is considered a high one, then you can give your child a pain reliever. High fevers are ones that reach 104 or above. Fevers that rise rapidly should be treated too because they can cause a seizure to occur. Seizures are the body's response to rapid and drastic changes in body temperature. While the seizures are typically short and are not dangerous to your child, most parents like to avoid them. If you notice your child's temperature rising one or two degrees in a single hour, then give them a dose of a pain reliever.
If your child is extremely uncomfortable and is unable to sleep, then this may be a sign that they could use a pain reliever. Rest is the body's way of recuperating from an illness and the virus cannot be fought off properly if your child is unable to get the rest they need.
If you are not sure of the nature of a fever or want professional advice, consult a professional at an organization such as Entira Family Clinics.