Our busy lives that are held together by the thin thread of routines. And our routines are thrown into total disarray when a family member falls sick with viral fever. And if this family member is your child – there is only one word that can describe the prevailing situation and the word is terrible.
Fevers are frightening. Everyone is scared of fever. It is really scary to see your active happy child reduced to a heated body and a mass of aches and pains.
No one wants fever – but when it arrives – it is important to understand what it is before we jump up to bring the temperature back to normal.
What is fever?
Fever is the body’s way of telling us – that something is wrong somewhere in the body.
When does the body manifest with fever?
When a virus enters your child’s immune system – his body immediately puts all its defense mechanisms into action. Action is taken to prevent the virus from causing too much damage, to limit its spread in the body and to push it out of the body rapidly. The most outward manifestation of this defense that is put up by the body – is fever.
What to do when your child has fever
Since fever is so frightening and parents want to get rid of it as soon as possible – a lot of parents immediately reach for antibiotics when they see the thermometer recording an elevated temperature. Antibiotics however – are indiscriminate killers. They kill the good bacteria that protect the body while they are on the lookout for bad bacteria that may be causing the fever. And this reduces the immunity of the child and makes the child even sicker.
It is important to remember that childhood fevers are usually caused by viruses. Viruses are unaffected by antibiotics. So antibiotics are not useful for viral fevers. In fact, they can do more harm than good when used without prescription.
It is important to consult your doctor and follow his advice when your child has fever. Only a doctor can tell if a fever is bacterial or viral.
If your doctor says your child has a viral fever – follow the doctor’s advice and allow your child to fight the infection without help from antibiotics. It will require you to grit your teeth and suffer through the illness – but the battle is usually only 3 days long. By the third day your child’s immune system would have fought the virus and emerged victorious. It would also have learnt how to fight future viral infections.
Understand viral fever – to build your child’s immunity.