With the onset of the winter season, it is likely to observe children falling ill due to fever. Naturally, parents do not want to waste time in treating their child. However, are we really helping our child by administering him/her with paracetamol?
Fever is typically defined as a body temperature above 37.5c. If the child’s fever is accompanied by sleepiness, rashes, cold extremities and stiff neck or breathing difficulty, it is a sign that you should consult your physician ASAP. However, most of the fevers resulting out of viral infections may be treated on their own within a few days.
Parents who have a phobia regarding the fever of their child become over anxious to treat him. Hence, many parents turn up giving their children very high doses of paracetamol or ibuprofen.
While on the contrary, according to the guidelines of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, parents should completely avoid giving their children any medicine just for the sake of treating their fever. The institute guidelines also clearly state that in contrast to the general belief, high temperature is more efficient in killing the fever causing bacteria. Thus, it has been observed that fever may play a crucial role in limiting the number of bacteria during the early stage of disease. However, much work still needs to be done in this field.
Many doctors and physicians strongly insist that fever should be left to be treated on its own. According to Dr. Wouter Havinga from Gloucestershire, parents become too serious about the child’s fever and try to treat it using medicines or by fanning them, which is not the correct way since fever is a symptom and not a diagnosis.
The NICE guidelines clearly state that anti-pyretic drugs should strictly be not given to a child having fever with the only aim to lower down his body temperature.
While many of us consider fever as bad, you must be surprised to know that it is actually beneficial to the body and this also has been proved. According to Dr. Havinga, the rising body temperature is a way of reducing the multiplication of bacteria and viruses as these are temperature sensitive. This is supported by the results of the Lancet study, which shows that 50 children suffering from Malaria showed slower recovery because their body temperature was being lowered down. Not only small children but also adults have been shown to benefit due to the raised temperature during fever.
When kids are suffering fever, parents should avoid lowering the body temperature only to get rid of the fever. However, a proper medicine can be recommended if the child feels upset and uneasy.