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Most parents know that normal body temperature is 98.6 F. Right?
Wrong! The figure 98.6 F is an average. Body temperature can fluctuate anywhere between 96 and 101 F and still be “normal.”

Parents need to understand that fever is simply heat. When the body’s nervous system awakens the immune system’s response to fight an impending infection, many normal body activities speed up. It is the result of approximately 150,000 chemical reactions occurring in the body every second. This extra activity produces work and work produces heat and fever. It’s that simple.  It is not a bad thing; it is part of your body doing exactly what it needs to do to get rid of the germs. So don’t panic.

When your child’s body is invaded by this “bug”, the immune system and nervous system command many body functions to speed up—part of your normal defense system. Respiration increases, the heart rate goes up in order to pump blood faster, breathing quickens, the skin is moist and clammy and your child begins to shiver. All this extra activity produces more work. More work produces more heat. We call this fever.

All this activity has a purpose: to eliminate an invading germ. This does not necessarily mean your child is “sick.” The body is doing exactly what it has been naturally programmed to do. Fever is an expression of health. But as a loving parent, it is at this point that you feel you have to do something.

Not necessarily. The most important things to do are to understand why this increase in body temperature is happening, provide hugs and kisses and allow your child’s body to do what it needs to do with no interference.

The other interesting aspect of this is that germs that invade the human body can only survive at a “normal” human body temperature. So the nervous system and immune system produce fever to “burn” the bugs. This is an example of the inner wisdom of your child’s body.
Why would you want to interfere?

The height (temperature) of a fever has no bearing on the seriousness of the condition and there is no clinical evidence that a high fever causes brain damage or convulsions. Why would the body want to injure itself? This is an old tale designed to frighten parents for the sake of, yes, profit. As a matter of fact, many researchers and doctors feel as we do, that fever is very beneficial.

So why do you have to take a child’s temperature when he is feverish? Good question. You don’t. Increasing numbers of physicians now feel that taking of temperatures is an unnecessary ritual. We couldn’t agree more.

It is neither necessary, nor wise to lower the body temperature. Fever is not the problem, simply the result of the body attempting to recover. Medications taken to lower the temperature work only temporarily. Once they are excreted from the body, the temperature will again increase. The reason is that these drugs have no effect on the real problem and therefore, nothing is really changed by giving them to your child.

There are times, however, when your youngster may need outside help. When she/he is not winning at getting well and the body exhibits signs of this, a trip to your family health-care advisor is recommended. Under one year of age, serious symptoms to watch for include unrelenting diarrhea, shallow prolonged breathing, listlessness, inability to eat, dehydration or difficulty urinating.

So the next time your child has a fever, provide supportive care only. Don’t interfere and lower the fever—you’ll be delaying recovery. We suggest the next time your child has a fever, understand the reason.

Lastly, have your child checked by a pediatric chiropractor to ensure they have an optimally functioning nervous system that can deal successfully with illness and of course the FEVER!