Hippocrates said 'give me a fever and I can cure the child'. Was he crazy? Some parents are scared of fevers, we have heard stories about febrile convulsions and seizures, but how often do they actually happen? This blog is not about being irresponsible, anytime you feel anxious about your child get professional help. However, fevers are part of the healing process.
What exactly is a fever? It is a biological process that is part of the immune system. We have different 'quarters' to the immune system. Very simply, we have
1. innate immune system: this is what you are born with
2. acquired immune system: this is kind of the more 'grown-up' part of the immune system
The fever is part of the innate immune system and occurs when the 'invader' gets past the barriers (such as through the skin, past the nasal hairs (so don't be plucking them) etc. The body raises the temperature by the release of various inflammatory cytokines (chemicals released by cells) and you may have heard some of the names of these cytokines, such as interferon and interleukin-1. When inflammation occurs, there can be swelling, pain and redness depending on where the inflammation is 'happening'. This inflammation is VITAL in healing. Yes, definitely ongoing inflammation is not healthy and should be looked at by a professional. But fever s part of this inflammation and inflammation is also part of the healing process. We have a blog on inflammation.
Firstly, listen to your child, watch them, observe them. How are they mentally? All these questions are important in helping to be able to support your child. This blog is not taking the place of a physician so always seek medical support if you are concerned. An apprehensive carer does not help the process of healing.
Inflammation is FANTASTIC in acute, short rapid spurts, such as a fever, such as stubbing a toe, such as accidentally putting your finger in the flame when camping. It is there to alert you, to get the immune cells going and working on the 'job'.
Ensure your child is hydrated, some children may not want to eat, this is fine, because the body is going to focus on dealing with the pathogen at hand, why waste that energy trying to digest and assimilate food?
Our regular body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius (98.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and fevers can go up to 40 degrees Celcius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Fevers can linger for a few days and it should not be an issue. A fever of 40.5 degrees Celcius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) needs urgent medical attention.
Plenty of fluids, bed rest and lots of laughter, book reading, watching favourite movies. HYDRATION Is key especially in babies, so wet nappies are a good sign. ANYTIME you feel uncomfortable then contact your doctor.
Medications such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) can prolong the fever although may reduce it somewhat but paracetamol depletes glutathione which is our vital anti-oxidant and key in healthy immune regulation. Also suppressing a fever, is like putting the brakes on the immune system.
So here are a few tips:
i. Infusions such as nettle infusions or lemon balm infusions, chamomille infusions , hibiscus infusions are all great, even add some ice if it gets your child drinking, or add a slice of lemon or lime. WATER, hydration.
ii. Cell salt ferrum phosphoricum (ferrom phos) can be wonderful. Have it in your 'natural medicine' cabinet. And this can be taken throughout the flu, or as soon as your child looks a 'tad' run down. You can give around two pills twice a day. If fever is active start it straight away, put a couple of the ferrum phos pillules in water shake and take.
iii. Rest, rest, rest. You want to conserve that energy to heal and repair. Let your child watch his/her favourite movie or read him/her a book, or sing songs, have a good laugh, hugs and cuddles. Any healing activity that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. If you are breast feeding, then breast feeding on demand and skin to skin contact.
iv. Vitamin C in the form of Cherry Acerola, Camu Camu or Amla powder, these are all rich in vitamin c and from food sources.
v. Sleep is healing. During sleep the fever may spike a little, that is to be expected as during non REM sleep the inflammatory chemicals called cytokines kick in and they kick in to HEAL, whilst the body rests, all that energy is being 'diverted' to healing.
vi. Listen to your child, not all children will be shivering cold and want a blanket, some are hot and will want nothing on them. Respect their body's wisdom.
vi. Remove sugar; sugar suppresses immunity as it robs the body of other vital nutrients.
Some of the common homeopathic remedies for fevers:
Very helpful if fever arises from sudden exposure to cold or has come on suddenly. There is can be extreme anxiety and restlessness. There is watery nasal discharge. Very typical in fevers that started due to draft from air conditioning or a fan, or sleeping next to a 'drafty' window. Can wake at midnight with high fever. May seem frightened and be restless as if in pain. Unquenchable thirst for cold water.
Better: for open air
Worse: night time, in bed
If the fever is very high, glassy eyes and dilated pupils. HOT, radiates heat like a radiator. Can have a hot body with ice cold hands and feet. Intense, rage, fears. May be delirious, seeing ghosts or such like. These fevers can scare some parents, as the dilated pupils and the deliriousness can be slightly un-nerving. Sleepy but can't sleep.
Better: for light covering if that, bending backwards, resting in bed
Worse: for sudden movements, noise, touch or movement
Fever usually comes along with teething with one red cheek and one pale. May also be due to onset of a middle ear infection. Can be usually irritable, demanding, agitated and unsettled. Oversensitivity due to pain. Face may be hot whilst the body can be cold to touch. Can be thirsty and have a sweaty head. Give what they request then do not want it. they do not actually know what they want and sometimes a parent feel averse to this child's behaviour. .
Worse: for anger, teething, cold air, 9am, night
Better: being carried, cold applications, mild weather
Dry fever, face alternates between pale and red, sensitive to light, may have nose bleeds. Fast pulse or feels 'full'. Can be listless. may have nose bleed.
Worse: 4-6 am, motion, night
Better: for cold, lying down
These are the children that want to be with mum. They will be clingy, want cuddles and affection. Can be tearful. Feel worse for warmth and stuffy room, better when carried in fresh air. They tend to be thirst-less with the fever and have changeable moods.
Worse: eating rich food, eggs,
Better: cold fresh open air, for crying, gentle motion, being upright
Hot head and face but body cold. Prefer pressure on painful part. More gradual onset, and shivering with chills than hot fever. .Wants to lie down on painful part and worse for any form of movement. Dry mouth and/or increase thirst for large amounts of water. Irritable.
Worse: from any slight movement, coughing, stooping, touch
Better: rest, quiet and open air
A temperature with chilly body such as cold feet and hands. Sweating and weakness. The sweat may be sour smelling. Constipation with fever. Thirsty, may crave salt. Do not want consolation. Runny nose or eyes, 'fits' of sneezing. May come out with cold sore (herpes on lips) along with the fever.
Worse: for heat, sympathy
Better: for open air sweating any cold bathing
Fever with lots of sweat night and day but most at night. The sweat is fetid, sometimes oily. Increase in salivation, the individual does not smell too pleasant, even 'stinky' breath and metallic taste in the mouth. Can be very chilly one moment then very hot another (like the mercury going up and down with temperature changes.
Worse: at night, getting hot such as in bed, lying on right side
Better: moderate temperature, not hot not cold
Fever with hot head and cold extremities. Pale face, hot, red cheeks especially, awakes terrified with eyes staring wide, violent delirium, terrible hallucinations. TERROR. Dreads the dark
Worse: after falling asleep (can wake up terrified),worse form seeing shiny objects
Better: for company, light
If you can get your hands on a extra few cell salts, as they are such great little helpers....
The following are wonderful for immune support:
You can order these cell salts from Helios either combined or individually. Cell salts are always at the lower potencies of 3x, 6x, 12x even 9x unlike the homeopathic remedies. One can take two pills, twice a day or even more of these cell salts during the acute infection and reduce to 2 pills twice a day for a few more weeks. You can use these along side the indicated homeopathic remedy.
Homeopathic remedies can be ordered from any good homeopathic pharmacy. In the UK we have:
How to dose the remedies and keen observation skills.
When giving homeopathic remedies in an acute situation, 'LESS is always more'. Give one remedy and wait, and repeat if symptoms are improving. If pain is strong, you can give the remedy once every 20 minutes, if not so strong then can give one pill every hour, BUT always monitor, and reduce the frequency if improving. Let the vital force do the work. Repeat the same remedy if symptoms improving but same symptoms still present but less intense.
What exactly are you looking for?
- child's demeanour, are they more lighter, happier, more engaging
- are they cold or hot now- any changes
- any changes in appetite? Such as now drinking water or asking for food
- falling asleep after a remedy is a good sign
- symptoms less intense
above indicates that healing is taking place
Change/Re-evaluate the remedy if;
i. nothing changes and give a new remedy if need be
ii. have given/taken 6 pills (doses) and symptoms still present
Please note all information provided is for educational purposes, always seek the advise of your health practitioner.