As a parent, when your child has a fever it can be scary. We’ve been conditioned to think that fever is bad and should be lowered, and it can make you worry.
Physiologically, Fever is your body’s first defence against micro organisms. The body’s recognition of bacteria, viruses or their toxins triggers a raise in temperature and the release of immune cells called cytokines that then trigger cytokines receptors to get the immune system effectively fighting against the invader.
(As an aside, adults can also have a Prolonged chronic fever due to autoimmune or inflammatory diseases. Elderly people are less likely to get fevers and so a raised temperature is more likely to indicate a severe bacterial infection and need assessment by a doctor.)
Homeopathy helps by supporting the body. You may notice the fever lower but it may not do so if the fever is not dangerously high and is working for the body. Fever remedies include
Aconite- at first signs of an illness, it may come on after a cold wind. There could be a dry or croup like cough. Can be restless or fearful with dry, hot skin and a racing heart.
Belladonna- flushed, glassy eyed, fever is high and comes on suddenly, they may have a high pulse rate. There may be febrile convulsions or delirium. They have little or no thirst.
Arsenicum – restless but lethargic. Fever with burning sensations and feel better for warmth. Often thirsty.
Ferrum Phos – fever is not as high of as sudden as Belladonna. Can be useful in early stages of respiratory infections.
Pulsatilla – there is a clear emotional picture, with clinginess and they may be weepy, better for being comforted. It is most likely to appear in the evening, they won’t want to be covered and are likely to be thirst less.
Do encourage anyone with fever to keep well hydrated. Dehydration can be serious and can itself raise the body temperature.
There is some evidence that using antipyretics (agents that lower fever) in the first day of a cold can extend the duration of a cold, but the evidence is mixed, larger studies indicate it makes little difference in more severe infections.
If you are going to give antipyretics, then give a dose appropriate for the age and size of your child. I sometimes see people in parenting groups who have given their child a “half dose” of a medication, as they want to reduce the side effects or are concerned about detoxing from the drug. Don’t do this. The medicine will not be effective if you under dose it, so you will be giving your child a drug that will not work and they will still have the medicine you are concerned about in their system.
If you are not sure how much you should be giving your child give your Pharmacist a ring and ask them, giving your child’s age and weight.
Please note, ibuprofen can be given three times a day, 6-8 hours apart. Paracetamol can be given four times a day, 4-6 hours apart. There are two strengths of Paracetamol suspension available, always check the dose to avoid under or overdosing your child.
If you have multiple caregivers who may be dosing your child please make sure everyone knows when a dose has been given. Paracetamol overdose, particularly, is dangerous and can cause liver damage. These medications should also be kept out of reach of children and treat any incident when a child has gotten hold of a bottle as serious and see your doctor or head to hospital ASAP.
Do not give Aspirin to a child under the age of 13 (or any herbal product containing Willow Bark). There is a rare but serious condition called Reyes Syndrome, which may come with diarrhoea or vomiting, fatigue or lethargy and confusion or lowered consciousness.
Things to watch out for- see a doctor straight away:
If your child is extremely lethargic, not fully conscious, or floppy.
Trouble breathing or problems with heart rate.
If they have a stiff neck, are unable to look at the light and they may have a non-blanching rash go to the hospital immediately (meningitis)
If you are concerned in any way you can ring Healthline on 0800 611 116. Trust your gut, if you think it’s serious seek help.