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not feeling well?


About Fevers

One of the biggest misconceptions in healthcare today is the role of fevers. Fevers are the body’s way of fighting infections (viral or bacterial). Many parents think that they are doing the right thing by rushing for medication to try to ‘break’ the fever when it strikes, but in fact, this is doing a lot more harm than good. Studies have found that fever-reducing medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and tylenol suppress the production of antibodies, thus resulting in the infection lasting for up to 50% longer than it should. There is also concern that fever-reducing medications may actually make an infection worse. There is a survival benefit from fever and blocking it using medications can be harmful. Fever, along with other sickness symptoms, is a defense against infection. Fevers are beneficial as they increase the performance of immune cells and cause stress on pathogens and infected cells directly to provide immune defense. Under most circumstances, fever is beneficial, reducing the severity of illness and shortening its length and should not be a cause for panic.

Parents are often anxious that their children’s high temperature will cause a seizure. Febrile seizures are frightening events that occur mostly in children younger than 6 years of age. Fortunately, most common febrile seizures are harmless and leave no neurological effects. In addition, there is no evidence that taking a fever-reducing medicine will prevent the occurrence of a febrile seizure.

On average, a body temperature of 98.6F is considered ‘normal.’ This doesn’t take into account the fact that children are generally warmer than adults. Recent exercise, dressing too warmly, consuming hot foods, and even the menstrual cycle in teenage girls can cause the body temperature to rise by a degree or two.

Common Causes of fever:

  • infections
  • dehydration
  • vaccinations
  • medications
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • inflammation
  • teething in infants

Fevers tend to hit their highest point in the late afternoon, so if your child’s body temperature is slightly higher than normal at that time, it is no cause for panic. But if your child awakens and has a low-grade fever, you may want to encourage him/her to stay at home and get some rest, so that the fever can do its job of fighting any infection which may be present.

There are however times when medical attention should be sought for high fever. These include fevers in children younger than 3 months, who have a fever of more than 101.0 F. (While waiting for medical attention, try to breastfeed the infant, as mothers’ milk contains natural antibodies made at the breast as it comes into contact with the pathogens in the baby’s mouth.) Medical attention should also be sought for children between 3 months and 3 years old, who have a fever higher than 102.2F, and for anyone who has a fever higher than 104.5F.

The best course of action regarding fever treatment may be to seek out natural or homeopathic remedies, as these are far safer and pose little to no risk with regards to dangerous side-effects. Over-the-counter medications have been known to cause more harm than good to children.

What can be done to make children feel better during these times is to ensure they get plenty of rest and clear liquids. Avoid sugary liquids (sodas, fruit juices), and foods as these can significantly suppress the immune system’s ability to fight the infection. Try not to force them to eat, as they will eat when they are ready. An excellent home-made chicken broth will suffice, as it is easily digestible.

References: [1] Brody, J. (2021, January 21). Why are we so Afraid of Fevers? The New York Times. [2] Why fevers can actually be good for you. NaturalNews. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2022, from [3 ]Offit, P. (2020, April 14). Treating Fever is a Bad Idea. YouTube. [4] Wrotek S, LeGrand EK, Dzialuk A, Alcock J. Let fever do its job: The meaning of fever in the pandemic era. Evol Med Public Health. 2020 Nov 23;9(1):26-35.

how to

take a temperature

For kids younger than 3 months

You’ll get the most reliable reading by using a digital thermometer to take a rectal temperature. Electronic ear thermometers aren’t recommended for infants younger than 3 months because their ear canals are usually too small.

For kids between 3 months to 4 years old

You can use a digital thermometer to take a rectal temperature.

For kids 4 years or older

You can usually use a digital thermometer to take an oral temperature if your child will cooperate. However, kids who have frequent coughs or are breathing through their mouths because of stuffy noses might not be able to keep their mouths closed long enough for an accurate oral reading. In these cases, you can use the tympanic method (with an electronic ear thermometer) or axillary method (with a digital thermometer).

Rectal Temperature

To take a rectal temperature: Before becoming parents, most people cringe at the thought of taking a rectal temperature. But don’t worry — it’s a simple process:

  • Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly.
  • Place your child:- belly-down across your lap or on a firm, flat surface and keep your palm along the lower back- or faceup with legs bent toward the chest with your hand against the back of the thighs
  • With your other hand, insert the lubricated thermometer into the anal opening about ½ inch to 1 inch (about 1.25 to 2.5 centimeters), or until the tip of the thermometer is fully in the rectum. Stop if you feel any resistance.
  • Steady the thermometer between your second and third fingers as you cup your hand against your baby’s bottom. Soothe your child and speak quietly as you hold the thermometer in place.
  • Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.
Demonstration of how to take a baby's temperature rectally.

Oral Temperature

This process is easy in an older, cooperative child.

  • Wait 20 to 30 minutes after your child finishes eating or drinking to take an oral temperature, and make sure there’s no gum or candy in your child’s mouth.
  • Place the tip of the thermometer under the tongue and ask your child to close his or her lips around it. Remind your child not to bite down or talk, and to relax and breathe normally through the nose.
  • Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.

Axillary Temperature

This is a convenient way to take a child’s temperature. Although not as accurate as a rectal or oral temperature in a cooperative child, some parents prefer to take an axillary temperature, especially for kids who can’t hold a thermometer in their mouths.

  • Remove your child’s shirt and undershirt, and place the thermometer under an armpit (it must be touching skin only, not clothing).

  • Fold your child’s arm across the chest to hold the thermometer in place.

  • Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.

Whatever method you choose, keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Never take a child’s temperature right after a bath or if he or she has been bundled tightly for a while — this can affect the temperature reading.
  • Never leave a child unattended while taking a temperature.