There are a number of common misconceptions about fever which create stress and unwarranted worry for many parents. We interviewed Dr. Suzanne Rogers at Advanced Pediatric Associates about some of the myths surrounding fevers in children. Here is what she had to say:
Myth: All fevers are bad for children.
This is simply not the case. In fact, fevers turn on the body’s immune system. Most fevers between 100 and 104 degrees are good for sick children and help their body fight infection. The exception is in babies under 3 months of age, who should be seen by their health care provider right away whenever they have a temperature over 100.4 degrees.
Myth: Fevers over 104 degrees can cause brain damage.
The fact is fevers with infections don’t cause brain damage. Only body temperatures above 108 degrees can cause problems (usually associated with extreme environmental temperatures, such as being locked in closed car in hot weather).
Myth: Fevers need to be treated with fever medicine.
Fevers only need to be treated if they cause discomfort (usually 102-103 degrees). There is a common misconception that when fevers are treated, temperature should return to normal. In reality, fevers only come down 2-3 degrees with medicine, and usually return when medication wears off.
Sometimes parents believe that once a fever comes down with medicine, it should stay down. Most children with a viral infection will have a fever for 2-3 days. When fever medicine wears off, the fever returns and needs to be treated again. Fever will generally go away around the fourth day, once the body overpowers the virus.
In summary, remember that fever is your child’s way to fight off infection.
Note: Fever temperatures above are measured in Fahrenheit.
Note: Advanced Pediatric Associates has offices in Parker, Aurora, Centennial. The practice is opening up a new location in Stapleton later this year.
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