Sunday, March 11, 2007

Burn Baby, Burn

Here is what we had at our house today, other than gorgeous spring sunshine, and not nearly as nice - fevers. Two of them. Like little bookend fevers, one on either end of the sofa.

As I am of the let 'em burn camp, we rugged them up in long pyjamas and wool and down blankets, and waited for them to get nice and sweaty before flinging off the covers, only to start all over again. These were what I would term 'functioning' fevers, that is they were mostly themselves, only pinker, quieter and sleepier. I've had, especially with the Bean, fevers where she was almost unresponsive, with that little bird chest fluttering up and down with her pulse, and all the blue veins tracing under her pale skin - a bit frightening to see.

I have read though, and have come to believe with experience, that encouraging a fever is the best way to combat it, and that actions such as bathing and undressing force the body to raise the fever in order to accomplish the task at hand, which is to burn out infection, so really end up being somewhat self defeating. I will not give suppressants at all, as I believe that they thwart the bodies natural response to infection, and create a situation where the illness can really take hold, leading to worse secondary conditions. I will put a cool washcloth on the forehead when the fever has gone all the way to the feet, and constant sips of cool water are imperative.

I will try not to get on my soapbox here, although I am concerned that in our society the belief that getting rid of a fever means that a child has been bought back to wellness is constantly reinforced, and although the medical community knows the benefit of allowing fever to run it's course, they continue to prescribe suppressants to avoid potential lawsuits, and continue to recommend suppression, even though common fever suppressants are known to cause liver damage. Suppression adds a toxic load to an already taxed physical system - a body running a fever is already working toxins through the liver, and it is vital they are expelled in order to reduce the opportunity for secondary infections to gain a foothold in the body. Adding a suppressant only taxes the poor hardworking liver further, making it even less likely to do its job properly.

I think parents deserve make an informed decision about their child's health, and I don't think they are given all the information they need to do that, even from their pediatricians.
So don't take my word for it.
There are many articles on the net which are very helpful and comforting, and which I go to when I just want that fever to go away and am tempted to dose its victim with something cherry flavored, and they are only a Google search away.

Meanwhile, we slowed down the pace of the day, read lots of stories, napped aplenty, and ate bowlfuls of our fever standby, tinned peaches.

And with any luck, these two little faces will be waking me in the morning with the up and at 'em urgings I know and love, probably with snotty noses, but otherwise non the worse for wear.

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