Navigation Links
Kids' Fevers May Not Always Need Treatment

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Few things send a parent's fears soaring as quickly as a child's rapidly rising temperature.

But, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) attempts to allay those fears by reminding parents that a fever is usually just the body's natural response against illness, and that lowering a fever may actually prolong an illness.

The AAP recommends that, in general, parents only treat a fever if it's making their child feel uncomfortable.

"Fever is one of the most common reasons that parents contact pediatricians and health-care providers. Parents have concerns, and there are a lot of myths about bad things that can happen with a fever," said the report's lead author, Dr. Janice Sullivan, a professor of pediatric clinical care and clinical pharmacology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Kosair Children's Hospital, in Kentucky.

"Sometimes, parents think that if they treat a fever that their child will get better faster, but fever is a sign of illness, and it's the body's way of slowing the germs down to help get rid of them. Fever is one of the triggers that your body uses to produce more white cells. If you bring a fever down, your child may not produce as many white cells to fight the infection," she explained.

"Families need to remember that when a child has a fever, it's a symptom, not the primary problem. Fever may be beneficial, so parents should really look at what's causing the fever, not the fever itself," suggested Dr. Basil Zitelli, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The AAP report, which is published in the March issue of Pediatrics, suggests that instead of focusing on the number on the thermometer, parents should let their child's behavior be a guide for whether or not to give fever-reducing medications.

"If your child is eating and drinking well, and still engaged in some activities -- though they may not be as active as normal -- and doesn't seem particularly uncomfortable, why take away a natural defense mechanism?" said Zitelli.

On the other hand, if your child seems lethargic and generally uncomfortable, fever-reducing medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may make your child feel a little better. Give these medications as directed by the package or your pediatrician, based on your child's age and weight.

However, the AAP recommends caution when administering these products, as serious, and even life-threatening, overdoses can occur. And, Sullivan said that previous research has shown that about half of parents don't give their children the correct dose of medication.

Some health-care practitioners have begun recommended that parents alternate the use of these medications, but the AAP said there currently isn't sufficient evidence to either recommend or discourage the use of this practice. But, it did express concern that parents might not receive or fully understand the more complicated dosing regimen required when alternating medications.

Sullivan said that it's important that parents don't give their children adult formulations of anti-fever drugs, even if they attempt to break tablets up to provide the correct dose. "It's important to use the appropriate medication for the child's age, and to use the appropriate measuring device," said Sullivan.

The AAP report also reminds parents not to give aspirin to children, as its use has been associated with the development of a potentially life-threatening condition called Reye syndrome. The AAP also recommends against alcohol baths for cooling -- too much alcohol can be absorbed through the skin.

Sullivan said that during well-child visits, parents should have discussion with their pediatricians about what to do when a child becomes ill. And, they should be given advice about when they should call their child's doctor.

In general, she said, parents should alert their child's doctor if:

  • An infant is under 3 months old and has a fever of 100.4 F or above.
  • An infant between 3 and 6 months old has a fever of 101.5 F or more.
  • An older child has a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  • Any child has a fever accompanied by lethargy, headache, skin rash, trouble breathing or dehydration.

More information

Learn more about fever from the Nemours Foundation.

SOURCES: Janice Sullivan, M.D., professor, pediatric clinical care and clinical pharmacology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Kosair Childrens Hospital, Louisville, Ky.; Basil Zitelli, M.D., chief, Paul C. Gaffney Diagnostic Referral Service, and pediatrician, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; March 2011 Pediatrics

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Breast-Feeding May Cut Obesity Risk in Kids of Diabetic Moms
2. College Kids Often Feel Guilty About Texting in Class: Survey
3. 19th Century Polygamy Meant Fewer Kids Per Wife, Data Shows
4. Low vitamin D levels linked to allergies in kids
5. Kids Growing Up on Farms Less Likely to Have Asthma
6. Violent Video Games May Not Desensitize Kids: Study
7. Poor park planning drives kids indoors
8. Kids With Perforated Appendix May Benefit From Early Surgery
9. Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids May Benefit Kids
10. Kids Callousness Associated With Conduct Problems
11. Kids as Young as 5 Can Command a Computer Mouse
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Kids' Fevers May Not Always Need Treatment
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... It’s inevitable that everyone will experience death in his or her lifetime. ... lives among us. It is your perspective, however, that determines how you view death ... T Sky understands that she may see death more frequently than most. As she ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Sikka Software announced today that ... Their Ecosystem empowers dentists to make complex business decisions by providing the tools and ... a free fee survey with 10 procedures customized by zip code. , The ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Insightra Medical, Inc. and Novus Scientific ... for soft tissue repair in the US via Insightra’s national direct sales channel. ... intended to support and reinforce soft tissue for 6-9 months before absorbing completely ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Columbia, Maryland (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... human interactions could be of critical importance to the medical schools of the ... SIMmersion exhibited its healthcare suite at the 2015 ChangeMedEd conference in Chicago, organized ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... a leading provider of enterprise Time and Attendance/Workforce Management cloud-based solutions, announced ... Microsoft Partner Program with competencies in the Application Development, demonstrating a “best-in-class” ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Belgium , Nov. 30, 2015   ... focused on developing blood-based diagnostic tests for a broad range ... will present at the LD Micro Conference, which will be ... CA. Attending from VolitionRx will be David ... Powell , Vice President of Investor Relations. ® ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... IRVINE, Calif. and REHOVOT, Israel ... privately held specialty pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring and ... disorders, today announced the appointment of Keith A. ... directors. Gregory J. Flesher , chief executive ... experience in building successful organizations.  As chairman, he will ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... 2015   Royal Philips  (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) ... the 2015 Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting ... in Chicago . Visitors to the ... broad portfolio of integrated Diagnostic Imaging, Clinical Informatics, Image ... performance, improve workflow and create a superior patient experience. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: