Why Reducing a Fever May Not Be the Best Solution – Here’s What to Do Instead

When your child comes down with an illness, your first instinct might be to reduce his fever. It’s natural; you don’t want to cause him additional discomfort and pain, and reducing the fever may even help prevent any further complications from developing. However, it turns out that reducing a fever might not be the best solution – here’s what I do instead…

Reducing a Fever

Before we talk about what NOT to do, let’s talk about WHY

The first thing people think of when they have a fever is reducing it. There are many ways people go about this, but most of them involve taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen, both of which reduce fever by suppressing activity in the body’s immune system. The problem with doing this is that it reduces your body’s ability to fight off infection and that may lead to more serious health issues down the road. Plus, if you have asthma or other respiratory issues, taking medication can make breathing difficult.

Let Me Explain in Layman Terms

You may be under the impression that reducing fever is beneficial because it will help your child feel better. But, according to Dr. James Jaggers of National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, fever is actually one of our body’s immune response mechanisms and can actually protect us from infection. This does not mean that you should let your child run an extremely high fever for extended periods of time without seeking medical attention. It just means that suppressing fever may not be the best answer when it comes to a sick child.

1/3) What happens when you reduce a fever?

Reducing a fever is not always in the best interest of your child. The fever is there for a reason and you don’t want to reduce it too quickly. A fever helps fight infection, so if you reduce it, it doesn’t have an opportunity to do its job. When your child has a fever, take their temperature frequently and make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids. Giving them Tylenol or ibuprofen can help manage any discomfort they may be feeling from the fever.

2/3) Is it dangerous?

Many doctors and parents advocate for reducing a fever by giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but these medicines may have side effects. Ibuprofen has been shown in some studies to increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory problems. Acetaminophen can be toxic if taken at high doses, especially in children. That’s why I recommend other ways of reducing fever without medication, such as using cool compresses or taking baths. You should also make sure your child is drinking plenty of fluids.

3/3) Who benefits from reducing fever?

Reducing fever is something you may want to consider if your child has a high fever of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, or if they have less than six months. That being said, it is not always necessary and may not be best for your child’s health.
For example, reducing a fever with medication can be dangerous and even cause harm. When children take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, they are more likely to develop gastrointestinal problems such as stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea than when they don’t take any medicine at all.
Furthermore, there are plenty of other ways for you to reduce a fever naturally that are safe and effective.

4/3) This is the reason why reducing fever isn’t necessary. But there are other ways you can help your child feel better.

It is important that you find out what is causing your child’s fever before giving them any type of fever reducer. If your child has an infection, using a fever reducer will not help them feel better and may make their symptoms worse. Plus, there are other ways you can help your child feel better without medication.
If your child has an infection, then they need antibiotics from their doctor and may need to see their doctor for additional treatment. If they do not have an infection, then it is probably safe to give them fever reducers as long as they are old enough for this medication (although this should be discussed with their pediatrician).
You can also help your child by: giving them plenty of fluids and making sure they have plenty of rest.

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