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It’s difficult to see a child sick. Dealing with sickness is one of the biggest challenges in parenting. For many first time parents, it can be scary and completely disheartening to see their child feeling less than okay. However, even veteran parents go through the same thing. It doesn’t matter how old your kids get or how long you’ve been a parent; when your child gets hurt or when they get sick, you still get the same pit feeling in your stomach no matter what. Even something as simple and common as a fever can feel like such a danger to children.
What is it about fevers that make them seem so dangerous? It can be the way the body feels when it’s experiencing a fever. When you feel a child that’s hot to touch, it can be quite alarming. Other symptoms of fevers can also be bothersome. Usually, fevers can cause a runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and muscle aches. In worst cases, viruses can even cause tough symptoms such as upset stomachs, diarrhea, and even vomiting. Feverish children can feel very weak and tired. Sometimes, fevers can even cause shakes and convulsions as in the case of febrile seizures. If you’ve never seen a kid suffer through a febrile seizure before, it’s probably one of the scariest things a parent could see his or her child go through.
Onset of Fever
Fevers can have many causes. The most common causes of fevers can be viral or bacterial. Viral infections typically cause fevers related to flu, while bacterial infections can cause fevers associated with illnesses such as strep throat. Other causes of fevers include allergies, excessive heat exposure, or inflammatory diseases. Fevers can also be a general symptom of other underlying illnesses. You can never be sure when a fever is being caused by something more serious than a viral infection. Either way, a child’s fever is something that can’t and shouldn‘t be ignored.
When it comes to dealing with fevers, a parent’s primary concern should be to alleviate the symptoms rather than treat the fevers instead. The primary goal of parents should be making their child comfortable first before anything else. We as adults know what having a fever feels like. You can easily put yourself in the shoes of your child in a fever scenario. We all know how uncomfortable and painful having a fever can be. There are ways to take care of fever symptoms without resorting to drugs or any type of medications.
There are also many ways to alleviate the symptoms of fever in children and even help speed up the process of healing naturally. Breaking a child’s fever is already a natural process. Whatever your child’s body is fighting with a fever, you can simply supplement him or her with whatever may be needed to break the fever on its own.
Seeking Medical Help
While it is possible to treat fevers naturally in children, you should know when it’s time to call the pros. There are times when the best that you can do for your child is to seek medical help, and you should never hesitate when the time comes for you to reach out to someone who might have better knowledge on how to treat your child.
If your child has a low-grade fever of 100.4° or lower, it might be symptomatic of the common cold or any other sickness as such. Make sure that you take the temperature orally or even rectally if possible. Those measurements are more accurate than by taking your child’s temperature through the armpit or any other measures. If your child has a temperature that’s higher than 100.4° for at least 24 hours, it’s considered high-grade and can be indicative of the body fighting off an infection. In that case, you can still take some steps at home to alleviate the symptoms of the fever.
For children at least 6 months or older, any fever that goes beyond 103°F is reason enough for the child to be seen by a doctor. If your child is feeling extremely hot to touch, and the temperature you take is at least 104°F, you should call your child’s primary care physician immediately for what steps to take next. Any fevers at that point are considered to be highly dangerous and can cause seizures if not properly treated. If your child isn’t in the immediate danger zone, you can go ahead and proceed with giving your child natural treatments to break his or her fever.
7 Natural Ways to Break a Child’s Fever
1. Keep your child cool
Keeping your child’s temperature where he or she is comfortable is going to be the trickiest part. When children have fevers, they might tend to feel colder than anything. They may ask for sweaters or blankets just to keep themselves warm. Especially when your child is experiencing the chills, your initial reaction might be to wrap him or her up in something warm to stop the chills. However, the more layers you cover your child with, the warmer they’ll get. Even though they might be feeling cold, their bodies are still very warm. You wouldn’t want their fevers to spike up even more because of all the layers on top of them. The key is to keep them as cool as possible. Remove the layers and put something on them that’s not too light but not too warm at the same time. Putting on lighter clothing actually produces the wanted effect: it keeps the body cooled down enough to not allow the fever to spike.
2. Drink plenty of fluids
Fever and dehydration can go hand in hand. When your child has a fever, he or she can be more susceptible to dehydration, and vice versa. When your child is dehydrated, he or she can have febrile symptoms. You need to make sure you avoid dehydration at all costs because that can lead to a whole new host of issues that can be more dangerous if left unnoticed or untreated. Make sure that your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day. You also want to make sure that you replace the electrolytes that your child’s body needs. Try to avoid sugary drinks that provide electrolytes such as sports drinks. There are homemade recipes for electrolyte drinks you can easily make at home with normal pantry staples.
3. Have a lukewarm soak
Many physicians recommend that you give your child a lukewarm soak to lower the fever a little bit. The first instinct that some parents may have is to give their child a cold bath or even an ice bath to taper off high fevers. However, we have to remember that by exposing the body to something cold, the body will adjust itself by getting warmer in response. Therefore, cold baths will only make the body warmer, not cooler. Having a lukewarm soak is just the right balance, and you can only do it for at least 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes. Anything longer than that might cause the body to begin to get cold, inducing a warming response along the way, and increasing the fever eventually.
4. Rest is key
When your child has a fever, it’s likely that he or she will not have the energy to do much of anything physically. However, that may not always be the case. You might still get children that have fevers and are still full of energy. If that were the case, make sure that you try to give your child enough rest to allow the body to heal itself. You’ll want the body to expend most of its energy towards healing instead of expending it towards something else. Sometimes, rest is all the body needs to fully recover, and when your child is feeling tired with a fever, you should, by all means, let him or her rest as much as needed. Just make sure that when the child is resting, he or she is not bundled up in heavy covers, blankets, or the like. You wouldn’t want your child to get even warmer while he or she is sleeping.
5. Have a sponge bath
If your child is feeling too sick to get into the tub, you can simply give him or her a sponge bath in bed. Sponge baths can help alleviate the heat of the body by cooling it down ever so slowly. Make sure that you don’t use ice water or cold water to do the ice baths. Lukewarm water will be the most effective. In addition, giving your child a sponge bath is a great way to keep them clean and feeling refreshed, especially when they’re sick.
6. Increase their fruit intake
The goal here really is to increase their intake of natural vitamin C. There are many fruits that are rich in both vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C will help boost your child’s natural immune system. This way, you’re helping your child fight his or her own fever. In addition, the antioxidants in fruits help fight off free radicals in the body, allowing for the immune system again to take control and get your child healthier, faster. Some of the best fruits your child can overload on when he or she has a fever include oranges and other types of citrus fruits; berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries; bananas because they’re also rich in a very important nutrient—potassium; and watermelon for the hydration.
7. Make some bone broth soup
There’s a good chance that your child might not have much of an appetite if he or she has a fever. While that’s to be expected, you should also know that your child should still be able to get nutrients somehow. That’s what’s going to help him or her break the fever. Bone broth is one of the best things you can give to your child when he or she is sick, as it contains many things that are beneficial for the body. Cartilage from bones has been known to support healthy immune function. In addition, you’ll also get a tremendous amount of calcium from bone broth, which is very useful in fighting infections. Some people believe that calcium is actually what helps decrease the duration of a fever, breaking it as soon as possible. It’s also best to get calcium from food. However, calcium supplements will work fine as well.