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Fever in a child…Is it all bad? Should we, always be treating the fever?

By : on : August 28, 2018 comments : (0)

Hardly Nothing else worries a mother, more than her child’s fever spikes.

Question 1

Is there any physiological need of fever. Is there any positive impact of having fever in human, when we are fighting against an infection?

Yes. Fever has a positive impact on health of both children and adults, when they face the challenge posed by different kinds of infections.

Evidence is accumulating on this regard..

We are only opposing the positive effects of fever on our system that is trying to help us, by giving fever controlling medications

Fever is part of the body’s natural response to infection. It is therefore reasonable to assume that there must be some benefit to it

In evolutionary terms, ” fever ” the human’s response would have given a fighting chance of survival. In more biological terms, there is evidence that some microorganisms are adversely affected by temperatures above 37°C and some host response mechanisms perform better at higher body temperatures.

Question 2

We doctors meticulously prescribe paracetamol and advice the parents to give it …after vaccination…
Is it the right thing to do?

It has been shown in studies that if we use paracetamol to control fever, then the desired effect of producing the antibody levels ( the chemicals that fights against infective agents) decreases. Meaning that we could be potentially decreasing the effectiveness of vaccines.

Question 3

Fever is beneficial and it is a trivial issue in most minor illnesses such as coughs and colds. But how about the effects of paracetamol in sick children and adults in intensive care?

It has been shown that treating fever even in sick children and adults are not very beneficial.

But It is true that very high body temperatures can disrupt cellular metabolism and cause organ damage. Temperatures above 41.5°C is called hyperthermia, and temperatures this high can cause significant morbidity including brain damage and hence it is important to bring down such high temperatures pretty quickly.

Question 4

Does reducing the fever with medicine, help avoiding fever related fits in children

There is no evidence to suggest that it helps to reduce the chanes of febrile fits ( fever related fits)

Question 5

Paracetamol use isn’t very useful..It it so … should we be using paracetamol just because it is so safe… 🤒is it really safe?

Evidence is accumulating on this regard that it is not a wonder drug of safety if it is used on long term basis

Question 6

Then…What is the only purpose of giving paracetamol in children and adults?

The purpose of using antipyretics (fever medications) is to alleviate the discomfort of a child, not for fever per se

If your child has fever but he or she is running around, then you do not need to give them any medications just to control the fever…Same thing is applicable to you grown ups…

Fever…It is hot, but chill out and don’t take any medications.…

(Paediatricians like me would be interested in what causes the fever, rather than the fever per se..There is always exceptions… Fever in an infant below 6 months of age, needs thorough evaluation)

Dr M Saravanan

Paediatrician, Rio children and Maternity Hospital Madurai

Dr Saravanan

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