I’ve got three kids so you’d think I’ve spent hours and hours at the pediatrician’s office over the years. For well-kid check-ups, that may be true. But I can only remember one or two trips to the doctor’s for anything other than weigh-ins and shots.
Which is not to say my kids are never sick. They’ve suffered all the colds and sometimes flus every October to March season brings. There was even a two-week stretch where we battled the nastiest kid sickness I’ve ever witnessed, hand-foot-mouth disease (I think the name makes it worse).
When my kids start showing signs of fever, I pull out a thermometer for confirmation and start squirting Advil into whomever’s mouth is open. Then I pat myself on the back for not wasting time and a co-pay at the doctors. Turns out, I’m probably doing it wrong.
The Los Angeles Times Booster Shots blog posted about a new report in the online journal Pediatrics. Parents, it turns out, are too fever phobic. At the first sign of triple digits — or even 99.something — we either break down and go to the doctor or, like me, start medicating. Both moves are often unnecessary.
Fevers are not just a symptom of sickness, they’re part of the fight against infection. Lead author of the report, Dr. Janice E. Sullivan, wrote in the report that medication should be administered for fevers only if the child is acting sick, such as being lethargic, achy or experiencing the chills. If the thermometer reads 99 but your kid is still bouncing around and eating? Just let it run its course.
Babies 3 months and younger who have fevers should be checked by a doctor, the report says, as should kids 4 months to 6 years who have a fever higher than 101. Children 6 years and older should go to the doctor if their fevers are 103 or higher.
From Booster Shots:
“Parents are always concerned when their child has a fever because it’s a sign they are ill,” Sullivan said. “There is a misconception that fever is bad and that you need to aim for a normal temperature. But you should not try to lower the fever unless it’s causing them discomfort.”
Do you think you over-medicate or are too quick to head out to the urgent care center?
Photo: Cheryl from River City (Richmond), VA, USA via flickr